The History of Herrin St. Mary’s Catholic High School
Herrin (population 11,298) is located in Williamson County in far south central Illinois. The town is located on Illinois Route 148 about five miles north of Illinois Route 13 and five miles west of Interstate Highway 57. Pond Creek and Hurrican Creek both make their presense known in town. The Illinois Central Gulf and Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe railroads both travel through Herrin as well.
According to the town’s website page of http://www.herrinillinois.com/pages/civic_his-history.php , Herrin was established in the late 1800s and was officially incorporated in the year 1900. Herrin gained its roots from the rich mining industry which inhabited the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Herrin is named for Isaac Herring, recognized as the first permanent settler of the area in 1816. Herring’s last name was shortened to Herrin over time. Isaac Herring’s grandson, Ephraim Herring, is credited with establishing the town of Herrin. The town was first named Herrin’s Prairie in 1864 with the name being changed to Herrin in 1896.
The following information regarding the history of Herrin Catholic High School was obtained by Joe Dewees from Ray Serati, a 1951 eighth grade graduate of St. Marys Catholic Grade School in Herrin , IL.
“The Herrin St. Mary’s Catholic H.S. was started about 1947 as a 2/3 year high school on the city block housing the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic church and the St. Marys Catholic elementary school (the school is now named Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic elementary school).The school had an addition at the rear of the building that was used for the new high school classes. The high school also occupied some of the second floor classrooms.
At about the time of the opening of the new high school (1947-48) a new separate gym and locker rooms was also constructed on the block housing the school and church.
The high school had a jayvee basketball team since they were a new school and had no upper classmen.
The high school closed in the spring of 1951 due to low enrollment. It is speculated that the school expected to enroll high school students from the area towns Catholic population since there were no other Catholic high schools in this area of Southern Illinois. This did not occur.
The gym building and the school building are still used today as an elementary school complex. The gym is one of the larger elementary school gyms in the area since it was constructed for both elementary and high school use. The elementary school is now named Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic elementary school.”
There are, in fact, several former Catholic high schools in the Bellevue area like Herrin Catholic that deserve a page on this website (http://www.diobelle.org/directory/institutions/records.html). If you have any information on any of these schools please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Herrin St. Mary’s Catholic High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1947
Year closed: 1951
Herrin Catholic HS team nickname: “Crusaders”
Herrin Catholic HS team colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: unavailable