Keensburg (population 252) is located in southeastern Illinois in the south-central portion of Wabash County. Illinois Route 1 is the main roadway that passes through Keensburg. It connects Keensburg to Mt. Carmel just six miles to the northeast. Keensburg sits about two miles west of the Wabash River / Indiana – Ilinois border. County Highway 8 also leads to Keensburg.
The history of Keensburg and its former high school are in need of research. We currently do not have a lot of information on either. We are guessing the town got its start in the early to mid-1800s. A school was likely established in the area near that time as well. It is likely that the Keensburg residents set up a high school in town by the late 1800s, certainly by the early 1900s.
Keensburg High School served the area through 1949. The following information was sent to us by Keensburg High School student Henry A. “Sonny” Rigg:
“I attended Keensburg High School 1939-1949 and then attended Mount Carmel High School for my final two years. The name of the school teams was the “Indians”. The team uniform colors were red and white. The final building that housed the school was named the Count R. Lovellette school after my great uncle. His brother made a sizeable donation to the building fund and the final building was built in 1927-1928. The High School was discontinued in 1949. The elementary school continued for a number of years.”
The children of Keensburg now attend high school in nearby Mt. Carmel. The fate of the original Keensburg High School is being sought.
Keensburg High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s / early 1900s
Year closed: 1949
Consolidated to: Mt. Carmel School District
Keensburg HS team nickname: the “Indians”
Keensburg HS team colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: unavailable
Athletics and Other Activities
The Keensburg boys definitely competed in basketball. We would bet that baseball and track were offered too. The problem is the only thing we currently have to share is the team nickname of the “Indians”. If you know the team colors, school fight song, coaches’ names, and team records, please pass them on to us for inclusion on this page.
Other activities such as school plays, choir, band, dances, and clubs may also have been a part of the Keensburg High School experience. If you have this information please forward it as well.
We know the Keensburg High School boys competed in basketball. Several scores were found involving Keensburg playing in the IHSA State Tournament on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.” The photos below were submitted by Mike Grace, whose father played on the two teams his freshmen and sophomore years. Seasons not listed are currently not available.
1921-22 Bridgeport District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat St. Francisville 29-16
2nd Rd Score Needed
Semi-final lost to Sumner 19-6
Bridgeport beat Sumner in title game
1932-33 Lawrenceville District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Bone Gap 42-23
2nd Rd lost to Lawrenceville 27-20
Lawrenceville beat Flat Rock in title game
1933-34 Bridgeport District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat West Salem 31-25
2nd Rd lost to Bridgeport 30-18
Bridgeport beat Lawrenceville in title game
1934-35 Lawrenceville District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Bellmont 30-21
Mt. Carmel beat Flat Rock in title game
1935-36 Bellmont District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Bone Gap
Bone Gap beat Norris City in title game
1940-41 Bellmont District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Browns 41-15
Bellmont beat Bone Gap in title game
1944-45 Bellmont District Tournament Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd lost to Allendale 58-31
St. Francisville beat Allendale in title game
1946-47 St. Francisville District Tourney Coach’s name & record needed
1st Rd Beat Parkersburg 50-31
**2nd Rd lost to Browns 55-22
Allendale Beat St. Francisville in title game
1947-48 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
1948-49 Postseason scores, record, and coach’s name needed.
Keensburg HS Basketball Team 1927-28
Photo Submitted by Mike Grace (Father Duane Grace 2nd From Left in Back)
Keensburg HS Basketball Team 1928-29
Submitted by Mike Grace (Father Duane Grace Front Row 2nd From Right)
“There was a gymnasium (in the Keensburg School) with a stage where we had our seasonal programs. The gym was under the school. I call it a basement, but my Mom doesn’t. My Mom and I both took phys. ed classes there. Originally, there wasn’t a cafeteria. I imagine that came about when the high school was converted to an elementary school.”
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