The History of Marine High School
Marine (population 910) is located in southwestern Illinois about 10 miles east of Edwardsville and 25 miles northeast of East St. Louis. Marine sits in the east-central portion of Madison County. Illinois Route 143 is the main roadway to and from Marine. Other roadways leading to Marine include Madison County roads of Pocahontas Road (from the north) and, of course, Marine Road (from the south). Route 143 connects Marine to Illinois Route 4, one mile to the west, and Interstate Highway 70, two miles to the southeast.
The history of the town of Marine and its former school system was sent to us by Shirley A. Daiber. A majority of Shirley’s documentation is rewritten below with her permission.
The Village of Marine Begins
The first settlers of Marine Township were Major Isaac H. Ferguson and John Warwick, brothers-in-law who built their cabins in 1813 in Section 33, about three miles south of the current village of Marine on what is known today as the Marine-St. Jacob Road.
The first efforts to create a town followed the arrival of Rowland P. Allen from the east in 1817. He was looking for a place to settle for himself and several sea-faring friends. In 1818, he and Elijah Ellison and their families came from New York and settled near the site of the current cemetery. Thery were joined in 1819 by several other men with sea-faring backgrounds and other New Yorkers.
Losing no time, a town was platted and lots were offered for sale in 1820, “in the town of Madison in the Marine Settlement,” by Curtis Blakeman, George Allen, and several other settlers. The sale was held on 18 November 1820 but was not a success. The name “Marine’ was fiven the settlement to reflect that many early pioneers were sea captains so it was in rememberance of their seafaring life. The Marine Settlement and the place to be called “Madison” were just small groups of cabins.
In 1834, the town was laid out but north of the settlement and given the name Marine–again in rememberance of the early pioneers. The streets were laid out by George W. Welsh, James Semple, Jordon Jeffries, and Abraham Breath. It was platted on 10 May 1836, and recorded in the Madison County Courthouse on 14 July 1836 by Abraham Breath and George and Mary Welsh. It was described as part of Section 16 Town 4 North Range West of the Third Principal Meridian in Madison County, Illinois. It was incorporated on 08 March 1867, and re-incorporated under general law on 23 April 1888.
The following is a summary of Shirley A. Daiber’s account of the history of Marine Schools:
The first classes in the “Marine Settlement” were started in 1814 in the smokehouse of Isaac Ferguson. There were ten or twelve students and the teacher was Arthur Travis.
Several smaller schools were constructed in the area until a new one-room brick school building was built in the late 1830s. This school soon became too small and another building was constructed. This one-room brick building still stands in the town of Marine and is used as a private residence. A new two-room school was built nearby. It was a frame building which became known as the Marine Academy. A two-story brick building was completed in 1862 and was known as the “German School”. This building also survives today and is utilized as apartments in Marine.
The Marine Public School Building
The next school, known as the Marine Public School, was a two-story, six-room building constructed in 1874 on the east side of Duncan Street on the block between Silver Street and South (now Magnolia) Streets. This school was built by the contractor, F. Oswald, of Alhambra, Illinois, at an initial cost of $10,000.00. Much of the brick was made in Marine in the brickyard kiln operated by the Tiemans. A yellow clay brick was used as accent trim for the building and was also manufactured at Marine with the name MARINE, IL so imprinted. The school was completed in 1875 at a total cost of $13,000.00.
The six-room structure had four rooms downstairs and two rooms upstairs. It housed eight elementary grades and in 1918, was extended to include two years of high school. In 1924, courses were extended to provide three years of high school. Due to the extension of classes, there was no graduating class in 1925. Grades 1 – 8 were located downstairs and high school with a small library was upstairs. The high school continued for the school year 1950-51. The students went to Highland High School for the remaining one/two years of high school education. From the year 1951 through 1956, the building was solely used as a grade school. The building remained empty after the new Marine Grade School was opened in 1956 and was razed in August of 1966.
Several courses of study were offered at Marine High School. Essay contests, chorus, band, yearbook “Clipper” staff, Latin Club, Glee Club, and cheerleading were all offered for extra-curricular activities. The high school curriculum included such sports as volleyball, basketball and track. The school colors were orange and black.
The school existed through the early 1950s when consolidation talks between the neighboring towns of Troy, St. Jacob, and Marine took place. In 1951 these talks became a reality. In that year the Triad School District was formed between the three towns. The high school for the new district landed in Troy. A grade school, built in 1955, remains in Marine to this day, providing education for children in grades PK – 5.
Marine High School Quick Facts
Year 2-year HS opened: 1918
Year 3-year HS started: 1924
Year closed: 1951
Consolidated to: Triad School District (Troy)
Marine HS team nickname: “Clippers”?
Marine HS team colors: Orange & Black
School Fight Song: unavailable