The History of Herrick High School
Herrick (population 524) is located in south-central Illinois in the southwestern portion of Shelby County. Herrick sits just north of the Shelby County / Fayette County border on Shelby County Highway 14 at County Road 850E. County Highway 14 connects Herrick to U.S. Route 51 just five miles to the west.
A GREAT history of the town of Herrick can be found at the web address of http://www.galvinfamily.net/Herrick/herrickhistory.aspx . According to this site the town of Herrick was incorporated in 1888. Many businesses were established as well. The first school within the town limits of Herrick was started in 1891.
Information regarding the history of Herrick High School was sent to us by Galen Strain:
“Herrick Community High School with a four year curriculum began in 1920 according to George L. Cherry, Carl Frost, & Verla Boaz.
Mr. G. A. Cook, who was instrumental in its organization states that ours was the first community High School to be organized in Shelby County. Before that time students who graduated from the 8th grade often chose to study for an additional one, two, or even three years. Miss Frances Dixon who was principal of the grade school , located on the SW corner of Carroll Park, taught post-8th grade subjects from 1901-1910. High School work was taught by other grade schools principals from 1910-1920.
In 1937 Orval Moore taught music to both High School & grade School students and a band was organized. Later Mr. C. Joseph Velasco was another band instructor who had his 34-piece band play at commencement and other school activities. Other Band instructors were Ellis T. Campbell (“Whitie”) and C. Phillips Sandeen.
A new high school and grade school building were completed in 1937.”
According to the web address of http://www.galvinfamily.net/Herrick/herrickhistory.aspx :
“Herrick, as John Bumgardner first remembers from his early childhood, about 1925-1935. We shall come to Herrick from the north and proceed south and John will tell what he saw or remembered.
Stopping at the present four way stop and proceeding south two blocks, on the west, was a large two story weatherboarded white building. It was located in then southeast corner of what is now Carroll Park. It was Herrick Grade School. Continuing south, on the west, was and is a large two-story concrete block building with a concrete porch across the entire front. This was Herrick High School for a number of years. John started High School in the fall of 1931.”
So we know that a high school was in place for sure in the early 1930s. Our guess is that Herrick High School was holding classes byk the 19-teens. We know that Herrick High School served the community and surrounding farm kids for about 70 years. The early 1970s brought with them consolidation talks with Herrick’s neighbor to the northeast, Cowden. This effort was finalized for the start of the 1971-72 school year.
The fate of the Herrick High School building is being sought.
Herrick High School Quick Facts