The History of Visitation School – Kewanee, IL
|Visitation Church buildings – Kewanee, Illinois|
|L to R: Visitation Convent, Visitation Church, Visitation Grade School|
Kewanee, Illinois is located in Northwest Illinois about 25 miles Northeast of Galesburg on US Route 34 and 25 miles from the Quad Cities Area, as the crow flies. The Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad runs through this town with AMTRAK service. Kewanee was founded in 1854 as the railroad came into the town and annexed a town south of it, Wethersfield, in 1924.
The Visitation school was founded in 1895. The first St. Mary’s Church, which was instrumental in the development of the school, was built in 1855. A newer church building replaced it in 1885. In 1907 the church again rebuilt with a new facility on Central Boulevard.
The Visitiation school began high school curriculum in 1923. The high school classes were housed, until 1928, in the “old” building (1885). In 1928 the high school moved into the “new” school building. This building was built by Oscar Schneider, who also built the high school in Toulon. We are unsure if the education was a co-ed effort or a boys-only effort.
A victim to the Great Depression, Visitation ceased its high school curriculum in 1932, although their lower grades remained active. Both original Visitation school buildings have been torn down.
Visitation Elementary School today, built in 1989, still serves the citizens of Kewanee and is supported by both St. Mary’s and St. Francis of Assisi parishes. Photos of the newer Visitation Grade School are at the top of this page.
Kewanee Visitation High School “Quick Facts”
Year school opened: 1895
Year high school curriculum began: 1923
Year high school curriculum ceased: 1932
Parish: Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
School Colors: Red & White
School Song: Unavailable
School Mascot: the “Cardinals”
We are aware that Visitation offered Basketball. Could they have offered Track, Football and Baseball? They certainly held their own in a town with three high schools at the time (Kewanee H.S. and Wethersfield H.S.) In basketball, Visitation played Kewanee H.S. in 1927 and 1928, falling both times. We are also aware that Kewanee Visitation High School played basketball against other parochial schools from the northern part of the state.
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