Kishwaukee High School

Kishwaukee High School
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c. 1920
Kishwaukee School
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Rear View

The History of Kishwaukee High School

Kishwaukee is an unincorporated settlement located about five miles southwest of the Rockford area in Winnebago County. Kishwaukee, Meridian, Condon and Stillman Valley Roads all lead you to the area known as Kishwaukee. Kishwaukee Road from IL 72, Meridian Road from the town of Stillman Valley, and Kishwaukee Road from the Greater Rockford Airport all take you directly to the settlement. The Camp McCormick area is located west of the village.

The exact location of the village center itself is in need of research. However, we know that there was a school and church located in the area. The village was platted in 1839 or 1840 by George W. Lee. The town was sometimes called “Leetown” because of another nearby village, New Milford, also being called Kishwaukee. The village is about one mile from the mouth of the Kishwaukee River, emptying into the Rock River.

Kishwaukee’s ediucational past dates back to the first attempt at forming a female seminary in Winnebago County. A building was built, but never completed when the growth of Rockford became significant. Around this time, the railroad bypassed Kishwaukee (which was hoping to be a county seat) and entered Rockford, taking the seminary with them. This Seminary eventually became Rockford Seminary, whose most notable graduate would be Cedarville native Jane Addams.

In 1915, a school was built on Condon Road just west of Stillman Valley Road. The village church was located next door. This school served as a single educational center for the village. High school students also attended, but the school was never more than a three-year institution.

Kishwaukee was featured in a 1920 Illinois schools journal. The following facts about the school were furnished:

No. of districts consolidated:          3

Square miles:                               12

Assessed valuation:                      $214,000

Cost of house:                              $9,000

Annual tax levy:                            $5,520

Tax rate:                                      2.01

Annual tax levy before:                  $1,900

Teachers now:                              5

Teachers before:                           3

Enrollment now:                           82

Enrollment before:                        51

Enrollment in grade school:           69

Enrollment in high school:             13

No. studying manual training:        4

No. studying home economics:     4

Aid from vocational fund:               No

Public conveyance:                      No

Years of high school course:         3

Months in year:                            9

Some years after the high school curriculum ceased, Kishwaukee School closed her doors in 1969. More information is being sought about it’s use as a high school.

Only a 1950s-built annex survives, which is pictured. The original building was been torn down in 1975, and the church has been converted into a private residence, having moved west of the village recently. Today, children attend the Stillman Valley school district.

Kishwaukee High School “Quick Facts”

Year opened:          1915

Year deactivated:    High School curriculum unknown, school closed in 1969

Building status:       Torn down, with annex remaining

School Nickname:   Unknown

School Colors:         Unknown

School Song:           Unknown if existant

Kishwaukee Memories

The following was provided to us by Brenda Vanbriesen:

“Kishwaukee is a very old hamlet in Winnebago County, with a Stillman Valley address just south of Rockford, and about five miles north of Stillman Valley. As of about 1970 the school district closed and the kids were split between Stillman and Rockford, and later on most of the old district became part of the Stillman district. There was a two story brick school building and a brick Presbyterian church and a handfull of houses at Kishwaukee, the church has since sold the building and built a new church, near the cemetary, which for some reason was about a mile from the burgh. The school was sold and was supposed to be apartments, not sure what the owner is using it for (he bought the church too later on). The classroom part of the school was down down, the gym and 50’s addition remain. I suppose the school may have had an enrollment of 150 or so, in 1970. My dad went to Stillman, Class of 1930 and before Stillman had a gym, (built in 1927) most of the basketball games were played at the Kishwaukee school. I know that there was a high school but cannot tell you when it closed. Kishwaukee was a progressive school district, fairly good sized land wise, basically farm kids, and the Kishwaukee area is still a tight knit community. I graduated from Stillman in 1966 and went to high school with quite a few Kishwaukee kids.”

Seeking More Information

As you can see, we are in need of a lot of information about the Kishwaukee School. If you have ANY information about anything related to the school, including a picture and our unknown “Quick Facts” information, please drop us an E-mail at – or – you can write to us at:

Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, IL  60631

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