The History of Martinton High School
Martinton (population 375) is located in upper-eastern Illinois, some might even say lower northeastern Illinois. Martinton sits in the northeastern portion of Iroquois County. The town is situated about 15 miles southeast of Kankakee. County Road 2100 E runs by the west side of town and connects it to U.S. Route 52 about 1 1/2 miles to the south. The Union Pacific Railroad passes through the east side of town.
A brief history of the town of Martinton reveals that the town was established in 1871 by a man named Peter Martin. A post office was established there in 1873, and the Chicago, Danville, & Vincennes Railroad laid tracks through the area helping to spur on its early growth.
The following information regarding the history of Martinton High School and the school system in general was located at the web address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/iroquois/Martinton-Township.htm:
“The first public school was erected in 1875, with an enrollment of 74 students from the village and surrounding areas. Later years out lying schools were built: Liberty, College Corner, Old Burg, Pittwood, Jarvis, Weygandt, Pleasant Valley, and Schoon. A two-story building was constructed in 1896 and the first teacher was V. A. Hathaway. In 1911 a brick school, costing $12,000 was built. It consisted of eight grades and two years of high school. Later the same building housed a three-year high school. In 1948, consolidation was voted on to create Community School District #3. Classes continued in Martinton until the fall of 1967. The new elementary school was built three miles west of Donovan. It now serves Beaverville, Beaver, Concord, and Martinton Townships. All high school students of these townships go to Donovan High School.”
The following information was supplied to us by Mark Stuckey:
“The village of Martinton was established in 1875. I am not certain what the last year for Martinton High was, but Martinton grade school was closed in 1967. At that point it was 1st through 6th grade. Then in 1968, the newly formed school district opened it’s new building in rural Donovan for K-6 grade. Prior to 1967, Martinton grade school was a 1st through 8th grade school. In 1966, the 7th and 8th grade classes began the consolidation with Donovan, Beaverville, and Iroquois. When the Martinton school building was closed, the Martinton Lions club purchased or was given the building. They tried to keep it open for their meetings and also as a community center. It became to costly to maintain and was torn down around the late 1970’s.”
The former school grounds were located on the northwest side of town, just west of the Martinton baseball diamond and park. A playground now inhabits the space.
Martinton High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1911
Year closed: 1948
Consolidated to: Donovan School District
Martinton HS team nickname: the “Elks”
Martinton HS team colors: Purple & Gold
School Fight Song: unavailable