Kinderhook High School “Killers”

The History of Kinderhook High School

Kinderhook (population 249) is located in northwestern Pike County, just 10 miles east of the Mississippi River in the western portion of Illinois. Three Illinois Routes (57, 96, & 106) intersect in Kinderhook. A town of note in the area is Quincy, just 20 miles to the northwest of Kinderhook. The Norfolk & Western Railroad makes its way through Kinderhook as well.

Kinderhook was founded in 1836 by Chester Churchill and Bridge Whitten. The town was likely named after a town of the same name in New York. The post office was established in 1837, and the town was officially recognized by the state in 1869.

Education in Kinderhook started early and has continued for probably over a century. Kinderhook High School existed on its own until some point in either 1948 or 1949. The exact year is not known; however, Kinderhook and the nearby towns of Hull and New Canton consolidated their school districts to form the West Pike School District.

The following timeline for the formation of the West Pike School District was provided by long-time Hull resident Dixie Ward:

In 1945 the Hull High School building was destroyed by fire.

     1947-49  Community meetings were held to organize West Pike Community Unit District #2

     1948-49  Bonds were approved and renovation began at New Canton to build suitable facility for elementary students

     1949-50  Construction begins on Hull Elementary School building.

     Midterm 1950  All 27 rural schools in the district close.  Students move to the Hull High School Gymnasium which is a separate building from the school that burned.  New Canton High moves to Kinderhook High School.  Kinderhook grade school students move to New Canton High building.

     1950-51 Hull area students leave old gym at Christmas bread and move into new Hull elementary building for opening January 2.

     1951-52 Hull Elementary School houses grades 1-8 and 1-3 from Kinderhook. New Canton Elementary houses grades 1-8 and 4-6 from Kinderhook. Grades 9-12 continue to go to Kinderhook High School.

     1952-53 Kinderhook High School closes.  West Pike High School opens for grades 7-12.  New Canton houses grades 1-6 from the southern part of the district.  Hull houses grades 1-6 from the northern part of the district.

The fate of the original Kinderhook High School is being sought; however, it is known that Kinderhook is home to the West Pike High School and the building may be used for that purpose.

Kinderhook High School Quick Facts

Year opened:             late 1800’s

Year closed:              1952

Consolidated to:         West Pike School District (Kinderhook)

School nickname:      “Killers”

School colors:           unavailable

School Fight Song:    unavailable


Kinderhook High School, like most small towns on this site, definitely offered basketball and probably baseball and track for boys. Four District titles were won in boys’ basketball. There is no other mention of Kinderhook High School on the IHSA site.

Boys Basketball

The Kinderhook High School boys basketball team brought home four District titles during KHS’ existence. Three of them came back to back to back from 1944-46. The records and coaches’ names of these teams are not available. The years of the titles are listed below. Some scores involving Kinderhook High School in the IHSA State Tournament located on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores.” Those found are listed below as well.

1921-22                    Quincy District Champions         Coach’s name & record needed

Early Round Scores Needed

                                 Title Game Beat Pittsfield 19-12

                                 Peoria Sectional Tournament

1st Rd lost to Peoria Central 50-14

Peoria Central won Sectional Tournament

Peoria Central lost in Elite 8 Rd.

1922-23 through 1932-33  Postseason scores, records, and coaches’ names needed

1933-34                    Pittsfield District Runner-Up       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Milton 32-27

                                 2nd Rd Beat Rockport 35-17

                                 Semi-Final Beat Nebo

                                 Title Game lost to Pittsfield 40-25

Pittsfield lost in Sectional

1934-35                    Pittsfield District Runner-Up       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Beat Nebo 25-24

                                 Semi-Final Beat Griggsville 36-28

                                 Title Game lost to Pittsfield 27-26

Pittsfield lost in Sectional

1935-36                    Griggsville District Tournament       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Pleasant Hill 44-15

Pleasant Hill Beat Griggsville in title game

Pleasant Hill lost in Regional

1936-37 through 1942-43  Postseason scores, records, and coaches’ names needed.

1943-44                    IHSA District Champions              Coach’s name & record needed

District Scores Needed

IHSA Regional Tourney Qualifier

                                 Regional Scores Needed


1944-45                    IHSA District Champions              Coach’s name & record needed

District Scores Needed

Liberty Regional Tourney

                                 1st Rd Beat Camp Point 41-30

                                 Semi-final lost to Quincy Notre Dame 53-39

QND lost to Quincy HS in title game

Quincy placed 3rd in IHSA State Tourney

1945-46                    Milton District Champions            Coach’s name & record needed

Early Rd Scores Needed

                                 Title Game Beat Milton 30-27

Pittsfield Regional Tourney

                                 1st Rd Beat Perry 40-18

                                 Semi-final lost to Griggsville 28-22

Griggsville lost to Pittsfield in title game

1946-47                    Milton District Tournament               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Bayliss 45-20

                                 Semi-final lost to Pearl 58-22

Pearl lost to Milton in title game

1947-48  Postseason scores, records, and coach’s name needed.

1948-49  Postseason scores, records, and coach’s name needed.

1949-50  Postseason scores, records, and coach’s name needed.

1950-51  Postseason scores, records, and coach’s name needed.

*1951-52  Postseason scores, records, and coach’s name needed.

*Final season for Kinderhook High School. Merged with New Canton and Hull in the summer of 1952 to form the West Pike School District with the HS located in Kinderhook.

We Need Your Assistance

If you have any further information regarding the many successes of Kinderhook High School, we hope you will share it with the rest of us. The great teams, coaches, teachers, and townspeople who supported the school for many years should not be forgotten. We are especially interested in photos of the original Kinderhook High School building as well as some of the great landmarks and teams of the past. You can e-mail these items to us at, or write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.    60631


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