Lakewood High School

Downtown Lakewood, Illinois in 2006
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The History of Lakewood High School

Lakewood (population approximately 50) is located in south-central Illinois in south-central Shelby County.  Lakewood sits about 40 miles southeast of Springfield and 20 miles northwest of Effingham.  In my favorite manner, Lakewood is situated in a true country setting.  The main roadway to and from Lakewood is County Road 750N, which connects it to Illinois Route 128 just 2 miles to the east.  County Road 1300E forms the north-south route through Lakewood.  The MapQuest ( map of Lakewood shows the town to be about four blocks from north to south and three blocks from west to east.

A great fan of the Glory Days website, Jamie Driskill, sent us the following article from the Shelbyville Daily Union newspaper (

The article is copied in its entirety below:

“At One Time The Village Of Lakewood Was Rich In Game, Fish And Deep Forests And A Huge Lake

FRANK MULHOLLAND – Daily Union Managing Editor

If you have ever visited the Lakewood area of Shelby County, you may have wondered where the lake is? Well, it was there and it was quite the lake in it’s time.

The Lakewood area for a number of years was one of the greatest hunting resorts in the county. The lake was located about one-half mile north of the town, and was a huge lake that covered an area of over 100 acres. It was well stocked with fish and during migration season its waters were literally covered with wild duck, whose numbers were such that when they rose in a body their flight darkened the sun. The lake was drained in 1882 by Ephriam McCracken, who owned the land on which it was located.

Leon Cutler moved to Lakewood when he was in the second grade and lived there until after high school. He said the area where the lake was located continued to give the town problems when he was young.

“After a hard rain the area where the lake was located would fill with water, and the school bus could not get through and would have to go around,” said Cutler.

This is another story in the series of stories about the towns and villages that presently exist or at one time did exist in Shelby County.

These stories are inspired by the project of former Shelbyville mayor Lowell Goleman to place flags around the courthouse square representing those towns and villages. Goleman is planning a small ceremony on Memorial Day weekend to commemorate the occasion.

Lakewood, like virtually all the communities in Shelby County, was a by-product of the emerging railroad industry. When the railroad company decided to locate a station there, they christened it Lakewood.

By June 6, 1872, the station at Lakewood was completed and C. P. Roberts moved into the building and occupied it in the capacity of the first post master, and first merchant.

In 1935 there were three grocery stores, a restaurant, feed store, several gas stations. There was a grade school and high school all in a four room building.

The history of Lakewood by Beulah Gordon said that in the 1934-35 year there were 37 students in the high school with L.L. Holloway as principal and Miss Pauline Baker as the teacher. The grade school had 46 pupils with Frank Foor and Miss Gladys Peifer as teachers.

A hardware and limber yard owned by Lanum and Newkirk was located in Lakewood. It is said that lumber yard attracted business from near and far.

“That limber yard was well known throughout Central Illinois,” said Goleman. “They did a tremendous business.”

During the ‘50s when Cutler grew up in Lakewood, he said there was never a shortage of things for the kids of the town to do.

“Occasionally we might borrow a watermelon from someone’s patch,” continued Cutler. “On Saturday nights the local merchants would put up a bed sheet and show movies for the kids.”

He said later on the townhouse was used and they would show movies in there. Cutler said for entertainment, there were many box lunch and ice cream socials with cake walks.

During the ‘90s, the Methodist church at Williamsburg was moved to Lakewood. Also during the ‘90s, the Free Methodist Church was built and still graces Lakewood.

According to the history recorded by Gordon, the Lakewood area was rich in game, fish and dense timber. Cutler said as a kid, he and the other kids found many arrow heads and bits and pieces of pottery. The natural bounty of the area must have attracted many Indians to that area.

No doubt when the first settlers moved through the area that is now Shelby County that bountiful area with the huge lake must have been a beautiful sight to behold.”

Lakewood High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                                 early 1900s?

Year closed:                                  late 1930s / 1940s?

Consolidated to:                             Shelbyville High School

Lakewood HS team nickname:        unavailable

Lakewood HS team colors:             unavailable

School Fight Song:                        unavailable


Lakewood High School definitely competed in boys basketball.  Though no IHSA tourney hardware was earned, one game played by the Lakewood boys will go down forever in the infamy of IHSA history. We believe the boys may have competed in track and baseball as well.  School team nickname, team colors, fight song, coach’s names, and team records are all items we are interested in sharing.

Boys Basketball

The only item we have regarding Lakewood High School basketball was found by Jamie Driskill on the IHSA website (  In a game played on December 18, 1926, the Lakewwod HS boys were matched against the Rosamond HS hardwood court boys.  The game will be recorded forever as one of the lowest scoring games in IHSA history with the Rosamond boys pulling out a thrilling 3 – 2 victory. This ranks as being tied for the fifth lowest scoring basketball game in IHSA history.

Extra-Curricular Activities

We know that Lakewood High was the toast of the town and the center of the surrounding farm kids’ activities.  We are sure that sports were only part of the educational experience at LHS.  School plays, chorus, band, clubs, and dances all likely made many a Friday and Saturday night a happening one in Lakewood.  If you have any of this information to share please write to us via the means listed below.

Always Wanting More

A photo of the original Lakewood High School building is also being sought. Sports is not the only subject we like to talk about. If you have any information about the many other acheivements attained at Lakewood High School please share them with us. You send items to us at or via real mail at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

Lakewood High School Class of 1929
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Courtesy of Gerry Halpin &

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