The History of Manhattan High School
Manhattan (population 6,071) is located in northeastern Illinois in the south-central portion of Will County. U.S. Route 52 is the main roadway leading to and from town. Manhattan sits just seven miles southeast of downtown Joliet. The town is starting to experience the incredible outward growth of the Chicago area with new houses being built in the area on a monthly basis. According to the town’s website, http://www.villageofmanhattan.org/ , as many as 250 new homes are being built in the city limits for the past 4 years! The previously mentioned website also provides a brief history of the town of Manhattan. The town was incorporated in 1886.
Educational beginnings occurred in the village in 1852. In 1902, a two-story brick building was erected, and an addition to that building was constructed in 1915. That addition housed the first high school classes at the Manhattan School.
Only 2 years of high school education were offered at Manhattan, and enrollment may have never have exceeded over 50 students. We know that during the 1938-39 school year, there were only eight freshmen and seven sophomores. Commencements for those graduating after their sophomore year were held at the Hoerrman Theatre downtown (now an apartment complex).
In 1942, the school dropped high school education, and high school-aged students were sent to Joliet High School (about 10 miles north). This arrangement lasted until 1951 with the creation of the Lincoln-Way School District, headquartered in nearby New Lenox.
High school-aged students residing in Manhattan currently attend Lincoln-Way East High School.
The Manhattan High School building was torn down in 1964 and replaced with a newer structure at the same site. This school, Anna McDonald School, provides elementary-level education.
Manhattan High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1915
Year closed: 1942
Consollidated to: Joliet School District, later Lincoln-Way School District
Manhattan HS team nickname: unavailable
Manhattan HS team colors: Blue and White
School Fight Song: unavailable
According to the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org) , Manhattan High School did complete with other schools in the sport of boys basketball. It is probable that baseball and track were offered as well. We are searching for the team mascot, uniform colors, season records, coach’s names, and individual accomplishments of the athletes and teams in Manhattan High School history.
We are certain the Manhattan High School boys competed in boys basketball. Games were played in the Grange Hall on Jessie Street. The teams often competed against 4 year high schools several times their size in enrollment. There were likely many instances of victories and hard fought games enjoyed by the Manhattan High School fans.
We would bet that many things were offered at Manhattan High School. School dances, plays, clubs, and academics were all probably a very integral part of the Manhattan High School experience.
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