Hudson High School

Hudson Grade & High School 1914-1953
A picture containing building, outdoor, house, old

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courtesy of “The Hudson Colony” by Ruth B. Hamm (1976)
First Hudson School for high school class 1907-14
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Courtesy of “The Hudson Colony” by Ruth B. Hamm (1976)

The History of Hudson High School

Hudson (population 1,838) is located in northern McLean County in the central part of the state, situated seven miles north of Bloomington-Normal along Interstate 39. The Six Mile Creek flows just to the south and west of the village near the Mackinaw River.

The community was first settled in 1829 by Jesse Havens, whose name is remembered by the grove along Six Mile Creek. Hudson was a colony of New Yorkers from Hudson, NY that settled in the area in 1836. Both the Bloomington-Ottawa Trail as well as the Illinois Central Railroad helped shape the village, with the latter coming in 1854. The town of Hudson has enjoyed great success in terms of population. In 1880 the town’s population was 270. In 1980 the population had grown to 929. Today there are over 1,800 residents in Hudson.

Education was started in 1838 with a one-room school, which was replaced by a two-story building in 1875, then another building came along in 1906…only to be destroyed by fire in 1914. The village built a new school quickly and occupied it in a short time.

The members of the Hudson History Room at the Hudson Area Public Library, provided the following information regarding the origins of the Hudson High School.

“According to “The Hudson Colony” by Ruth B. Hamm, while the building itself that only educated high schoolers did open in 1907, the earlier Hudson Grade School educated upper grades (high schoolers) as well. This school opened in 1875 and we have a photograph of the Hudson High School class of 1898 as well as a group of high schoolers from 1895.

Hudson High School Students 1895
A group of people posing for a photo

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Courtesy of the Hudson History Room at the Hudson Area Public Library

A new Hudson High School building was constructed in 1907. High school education was offered in Hudson for ninth and tenth graders with the addition of two teachers to the faculty for the sole purpose of instructing those post-grade students. A third year was planned to be added after 1934, but the plan was shelved and the high school was discontinued in 1936. High schoolers went to finish their secondary education at area schools such as El Paso, Normal, or Towanda before Normal Community High School decided to add Hudson students to their district. The grade school board decided to join Normal Unit 5 in 1948 to set the stage as to how education is handled today in Hudson.

The current grade school building (see picture below) was begun in 1953 and continued in stages thru the 1970’s. Today, students in kindergarten thru fifth that are in the current building, while sixth, seventh and eighth graders attend Normal Parkside Junior High School, and high schoolers are at Normal Community West High School.

Hudson High School Students 1898
A group of people posing for a photo

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Courtesy of the Hudson History Room at the Hudson Area Public Library

Year opened:                        1875

Year Hudson HS bldg. built: 1907

Year HS closed:                   1936

Students now attend:            Normal Community West High School

School colors:                       unknown

School nickname:                 unknown

School song:                        unknown


We do know that boys’ basketball was offered at Hudson. In the winter of 1930-31, the school competed in the junior division of the McLean County Tournament and lost in two games. There is no word as to whether or not Hudson offered any of sports or extra-curricular activites. We are in need of finding out, so if you know, please contact us below for submitting your information.


Though these three gentlemen did not attend Hudson High School they are considered some of Hudson’s “Famous Sons.”

Melville Stone (1848-1929) — Helped found the Chicago Daily News and was manager of the Associated Press in its younger days. Stone is also responsible for consumers having list prices of 59 cents, 69 cents, 99 cents, etc. and then being able to sell the Daily News for a penny when change was not able to be made in pennies from a dollar amount.

Elbert Hubbard (1856-1915) — Hubbard was a writer that was born in Bloomington before settling in Hudson as a youth. His biggest success was being a philosopher and writer, penning the essay “A Message to Garcia” in 1899 which received critical acclaim and was made into two movies. Hubbard lost his life with his second wife in 1915 when the boat they were travelling on was sunk by a German submarine.

C.J. “Buffalo” Jones (1844-1919) –The noted outdoorsman was involved with trying to cross-breed cattle and buffalo, and hunted wild game in Africa with former President Theodore Roosevelt (a good friend). Roosevelt appointed Jones as the first game worden of Yellowstone National Park in 1901, and developed a ranch & game reserve at the northern boundary of the Grand Canyon. Jones also wrote Western stories before his death.

Present-day Hudson Grade School
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Hudson, IL


…..gather more information about the former Hudson High School? We certainly would like to hear from you if you do have anything that made by significance, such as photos of the school or any sports teams, words and music of the fight song, and so on. We’ll gladly take your submissions at  or write to us at the address below. Every little bit is aprpeciated, so please let us know. Thanks!

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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