Kilbourne High School “Green Wave”

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Kilbourne High School
Original High School Building
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Kilbourne, Illiinois

The History of Kilbourne High School

The town of Kilbourne (population 375) is located in the southwest portion of Mason County along IL Route 97 at county road East Creek 600 N. The Chicago & Illinois Midland Railroad runs through the west side of town. Kilbourne is approximately 30 miles (as the crow flies) northwest of Springfield.

The school system in Kilbourne traces its roots back to the early 1900’s. It was then that the high school in town was established. The first graduating class received their diplomas in 1910. For 44 years, the town of Kilbourne graduated their children from the school building. It was in 1954 that a consolidation effort with nearby Bath (also on this site) became a reality. The merger of Kilbourne High and Bath-Lynchburg High created the Ba-Ly-Ki School District.

Balyki High School was located in Bath with the middle school remaining in Kilbourne. Meals were often cooked in Bath and transported to Kilbourne so the Middle School students could receive a hot meal. This system worked well until a new consolidation effort took place with Havana. These talks were realized in 1991 when Balyki High School was deactivated. The children of Kilbourne now attend school in Havana.

The original Kilbourne High School building was struck and demolished by a tornado in the mid-1970s. The Middle School is still standing tall and proud in Kilbourne, though we are not certain of its current use.

Kilbourne High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                early 1900’s

First graduating class:   1910

Year closed:                 1954

Consolidated to:            Balyki School District (Bath)

School nickname:         the “Green Wave”

School colors:              Green & White

School Fight Song:       unavailable


It is a fact that Kilbourne High School offered athletics during its existence.  Basketball was the feature sport. Baseball and track were also offered. Unfortunately, no IHSA hardware was won and there is no record of any sort regarding the Kilbourne High School athletic program on their site. We are confident that great seasons and stories do exist,and are hopeful an area fan will share this information with us.

Boys Basketball

The Green Wave were riding high during the 1929-30 basketball season.  The boys were from one of the smaller schools in Mason County, but they were afraid of no one.  They proved they could play with any team in the county that year reaching the title game of the Mason County Tournament.

Kilbourne’s Green Wave never won a Mason County boys basketball championship, but finished second to Forest City in 1930, when they lost 24-10.  The last game they ever played was on Feb. 23, 1954, in the Bath-Lynchburg district tournament.  Kilbourne lost to B-L 77-52.  Harry Sutton and Joe DeVore each scored 15 for the Green Wave.  Others scoring: Vaughn 12, Lane 9, Prater 1.

Kilbourne HS was usually the smallest school enrollment-wise in the county, and in May 1954 when it graduated its last class, there were seven seniors.  In September 1954 Kilbourne consolidated with Bath-Lynchburg to become Balyki, with the high school located in Bath.

“The last basketball game won by the Green Wave was on December 1, 1953, a 64-63 overtime thriller from Armington.  Gary Butler, a transfer from East Peoria (who was later declared ineligible by the IHSA because of a residency ruling), scored 34 points on 14 field goals.  The final season’s record was reflective of Kilbourne’s difficulties for the last seven years of its existence, a stretch where they went 9-136.  Even though the team never gave up in any game, the results were seldom in the Green Waves’ favor.”

Special thanks to Phil Shadid for his research in uncovering these facts about Kilbourne High School.

1929-30              Mason County Tournament – 2ND Place

Kilbourne HS Basketball Team of 1943-44
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1944-45, 6 – 8                                                                     Coach Joe Wylder

1945-46, 5 – 14                                                                   Coach Joe Wylder

1946-47, 0 – 12                                                                   Coach Joe Wylder

1947-48  1 – 15                                                                   Coach Joe Wylder

1948-49  0 – 22                                                                   Coach Everett Underkofler

1949-50  2 – 14                                                                   Coach Jay Hulet

1950-51, 0 – 22                                                                   Coach Garrie Sprague

1951-52  1 – 19                                                                   Coach Garrie Sprague

1952-53  3 – 21                                                                   Coach Charles Jerdee

1953-54  2 – 23  Final Season                                            Coach Charles Jerdee

Need Some In-put

If you have any information regarding the Kilbourne High School athletic program and other school programs offered there, please share them with us. We are especially interested in sharing photos of the old high school building and great teams and coaches. Please share with us by completing a School Submission Form or a Guest Commentary Form. You can also reach us by:

E-mail –

USPS  –    Illinois HS Glory Days

                6439 N. Neva St.

                Chicago, Il.  60631

Kilbourne Senior Class & Faculty of 1944
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Kilbourne Seniors & Faculty of 1947
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Kilbourne HS Baseball & Track Teams 1943-44
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Kilbourne 1944 Yearbook Photo Page
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Submitted by Richard Savage

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