The History of Monroe Center High School
Monroe Center (population approximately 350) is located in northeastern Illinois about 10 miles south and a little east of Rockford. The town sits on Illinois Route 72 1mile east of Interstate Highway 39 in northeastern Ogle County. The CMSP & P Railroad runs through Monroe Center as well.
Monroe Center does have a website (www.monroecenter.org) however the history of the town and its school system is in need of research. It is probable that Monroe Center had a high school in place for its children by the late 1800s or early 1900s. The high school served the town and surrounding farm kids through at least the late 1950s. At some point, probably in the late 1950s or early 1960s, it was decided to close Monroe Center High School and join forces with the nearby Stillman Valley.School District. We do know that Monroe Center High School was open through at least the 1952-53 school year as William Henry Hackman graduated from MCHS in 1953.
The following information was provided by Stan Kruger showing a brief history of Monroe Center High School:
“I have a document which provides a compilation of the graduates of the Monroe Center High School, through the school year of publication. That document is dated September 20, 1954, and was constructed under the supervision of then Principal Harold R. Steinhauser. On page 1, which lists the Superintendents of the school district from 1900-1955, there is the following statement about the history of the High School:
“The high school course at Monroe Center consisted of two years from 1900-1904. The Class of 1905 was the first to be graduated from the three year course. The class of 1921 was the first to graduate from the four year course and also the first to be graduated after the present building was constructed. No high school classes were graduated in 1918-19-20.”
The Class of 1901 (four members) is the first listed.
Monroe Center does have a grade school for grades Pk – 5.
The fate of the original Monroe Center High School building was provided to us by Phil Knight:
“The old high school was demolished in the late 60’s, after sitting abandoned for more than a decade. The old high school gymnasium was left remaining. The Monroe Township Fire & Ambluance District (http://www.monroecenterfire.org/) took possession of the gymnasium and built its firestation next to it. The fire station has a full-sized gym attached to it that is available to be rented.”
Monroe Center High School Quick Facts
Years opened as 2-year HS: 1900-1904
Years operated as 3-year HS: 1905-1921
Years operated as 4-year HS: 1922-1955
Annexed to: Stillman Valley School District
Monroe Center HS nickname: the “Panthers”
MCHS team colors: Blue & White
School Fight Song: “We’re :Loyal to You”
Quick Facts Info Provided by PAM ATCHISO