Henning (population 241) is located in eastern Illinois in central Vermillion County. U.S. Route 136 passes through Henning which sits just a stone’s through west of Illinois Route 1. The C&EI Railroad (Chicago and Eastern Illinois) and the IC Railroad (Illinois Central) both had spurs that crossed in Henning. The IC is no longer active; the C&EI spur ends in Henning for the purpose of serving the grain elevator still there. The Indiana / Illinois state line is just 9 miles east of Henning. A town of note in the area includes Danville just 11 miles south and a little east of Henning.
The history of Henning and the origin of its high school is not available at this time. It is known that Henning residents supported their own school system for many years. The school, established probably in the late 1800s, flourished for about 7 decades.
Henning Grade School Building
Submitted by Merle McConnell
We know from those who lived through the period that it was in the early 1960s that the consolidation talks began between the high school districts of the towns of Bismarck and Henning. These talks eventually became a reality in 1964 with the creation of the Bismarck-Henning School District.
All schools for the Bismarck-Henning system are located in Bismarck. The fate of the original Henning High School building is a good one. The building has been turned into a very successful factory that manufactures a variety of products. The gymnasium seerves as a laboratory and office space. A photo of the building as it appeared in August of 2013 is available below. Congratulations to Henning on their great success story!
Henning High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1914
FIrst graduating class: 1918
Year closed: 1964
School nickname: the “Raiders”
School colors: Purple & White
School Fight Song: “Henning School Song”
Now Everyone that goes to Henning School
Knows how to obey each and every rule.
They have that smile, that syle, that winning way,
No matter where you go,
They recognize and say:
“Now there goes a group I’d like to know.”
They have that good ol’ Henning zip and go.
And Just to see them smile
Is quite a treat (hard to beat)
Cha he ha ha
Henning High School
Rah Rah Rah!
Henning High School definately offered basketball as a sport. Baseball and track may have also been offered but are not mentioned on the IHSA web site. The English Department at Henning had one great year when the tiny hamlet of Henning hung with the big boys in team and Individual Speech competition. These accomplishments are listed below. We are searching for the school team nickname at HHS as well.
The only mention of the Henning High School boys basketball team is of the lone District Championship won by the boys of 1936-37. No other team records or coaches names are listed. If you have any of this information to share it would be deeply appreciated.
We have located a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores” which has scores from the IHSA State Tournament listed. The scores we located that involved Henning High School are reprinted below.
*Postseason scores from the begining of the program through 1932-33 are not available.
1933-34 Westville District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Danville 38-4
Danville lost in semi-final round
1934-35 Hoopeston District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Cissna Park 36-17
Cissna Park lost in semi-final round
1935-36 Hoopeston Regional Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
District scores unavailable
Henning likely did not play in District
Hoopeston Regional Tourney
1st Rd. Lost to Watseka 23-22
Watseka lost in semi-final round
1936-37 District Champions! Coach’s name & record needed
District scores unavailable
Hoopeston Regional Tournament
1st Rd. Beat Rossville 28-22
Semi-final lost to Cissna Park 34-27
Cissna Park won Regional Tournament
1937-38 through 1947-48 Postseason scores, coaches’ names, and records needed.
1948-49 Wellington District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Stockland 36-27
Stockland lost in semi-final round.
1949-50 Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed
1950-51 Wellington District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Crescent City 45-32
Crescent City lost in semi-final round.
1951-52 Wellington District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Sheldon 68-58
Sheldon lost in semi-final round.
1952-53 through 1957-58 Postseason scores, coaches’ names, and records unavailable
1958-59 Sheldon District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Wellington 67-50
Wellington won District title.
1959-60 Wellington District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Potomac 67-49
Potomac lost in title game.
1960-61 Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed
1961-62 Rankin District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to Crescent City 50-36
Crescent City lost in title game
1962-63 Potomac District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd. Lost to East Lynn 75-50
East Lynn lost in semi-final round.
1963-64 Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed
Merle McConnell Newspaper Article – Danville News
Speech: Individual Events
One Henning HS lad carried the school to great heights, putting Henning on the map in the world of speech competition in the mid 1940s. The efforts of thespian Merle McConnell earned the Henning High School kids a 4th Place finish in the state competition in 1946. His efforts are listed below.
1945-46 Henning High School Finished
FOURTH in State Competition!!
Merle McConnell Oratory Declamation STATE CHAMPION!!
Merle McConnell Comedy 4TH PLACE
1945-46 Final Team Standings
1.) Tremont HS – 10
2.) Freeport HS – 9
3.) Elgin HS – 8
4.) HENNING HIGH SCHOOL – 8
5.) DuQuoin HS – 6
6.) Charleston Eastern HS – 5
6.) Granite City HS – 5
6.) Rockford HS – 5
6.) Rock Island HS – 5
10.) Rock Falls HS – 4
10.) Paris HS – 4
10.) Metropolis HS – 4
Merle McConnell’s efforts also led the Henning High School speech team to a tenth place finish in Speech Sweepstakes!! The final team standings are listed below.
1945-46 Team Finished TENTH in State Competition!!
1945-46 Final Team Standings
1.) Elgin HS
2.) Champaign HS
2.) DuQuoin HS
2.) Tremont HS
2.) New Trier HS
6.) Freeport HS
6.) Granite City HS
8.) Downers Grove HS
8.) Roodhouse HS
10.) HENNING HIGH SCHOOL
10.) Aurora West HS
10.) East Moline United Township HS
10.) Paris HS
Henning High School Building 2013
Now a Successful Factory!
Memories and Information
From Robert Reinhart:
“During Fall 1981-Spring 1983 I was a first grade and second grade student at Bismark-Henning; at this point in time all students in those grades were bussed to Henning. For first grade I was in a building with four upstairs classrooms that was on the northeast corner of Highway 136 and 1300 East Road, where Donald Lucas Memorial Park is now. My memory paints it resembling the old Town Hall building, not the Henning Grade School building. For second grade we went to the Henning High School building which had four upstairs classrooms, a library on the first floor, and a gymnasium with a balcony.”
From Michelle Beck Disney:
“My Great Grandparents, Grandparents & Parents went to Henning High School in Henning, IL. Soon after it closed, they re-opened the building to hold Elementary grades there. I actually went to this building for my 4th, 5th & 6th grades in 1974 – 1976. (The original Elementary School was just down the road and held K – 3rd grades) Once you reached 7th grade, you were sent to Bismarck for consolidated Jr. High & High School (currently the Bismarck-Henning High School).
Today, the Elementary School has been torn down (I would LOVE to have a picture of that building!) and sadly, the Henning High School building has been sold to Ful-Fill, an aerosol manufacturing company. They have maintained and updated the school portion of the building to house offices for the plant, and then added on to the rear of the school for manufacturing facilities.”
From Michael Crawford:
“I am told that my grand father, Harry Young of Henning, a farmer and father of 8 (4 boy’s 4 girls), drove and built the body for the bus for the high school. I am not certain of the time frame. He is survived by grand children and a few cousin’s ( I have a house full of cousins).”
Special Thank You
To Merle McConnell for providing a great deal of the information on this page. Congratulations to Merle on his great accomplishments!
Need Some Help
If you have ANY information you can share regarding the many great successes of Henning High School, please send it to us to we can share with others. There had to be other great teams and great accomplishments that may be forgotten if not shared here. A photo of the old High School building is especially being sought.