The History of Murrayville High School
Located along the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad, Murrayville (population 644) sits proudly in southwestern Morgan County on Il. Rt. 267 approximately 10 miles south of Jacksonville.
An excellent history of the town and school system of Murrayville was provided to us by Richard Curtis. It is taken from several high school reunion programs that were conducted over the years.
“The History of Murrayville”
“The history of Murrayville began in 1830, when Samuel Murray, a native of Scotland, came to Morgan County and settled 2 1/2 miles from the present site of the community. Later, under his supervision, the town was surveyed and platted January 4, 1858.
Then, in 1863, an effort was made to change the name of the village to “Iatan”, and was known as Iatan (iatan) for some time, but because it was more widely known as Murrayville, the name Iatan was superceded by this traditional name.
The community was solidified by three basic institutions – the churches, the school, and the railroad. Methodists, Baptists, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian Churches were all early settlers of Murrayville. The first school was built one mile north of the town, but was said to have been destroyed by a cyclone. The Alton Railroad Company began to operate through Murrayville in 1858″
“History of Murrayville School”
“The pioneers who came to Morgan County and settled near the place now known as Murrayville, built a schoolhouse of logs located on the nichols farm, a mile north of Egypt’s Prairie, which was about two miles southeast of Murrayville.
In 1858 the present town was laid out and the first school at Murrayville was known as the Sheplar School. It was a one-room structure situated a mile north of the present village. It is believed to have been destroyed by a cyclone in the year 1860.
The next school was built in the part of town known as the Master’s Addition in the east part of town in 1870 and consisted of two rooms. This building soon proved inadequate and was sold. A larger structure was built on the same spot in 1878. This was a one-story structure of three rooms. Later, upper rooms were added. This building was destroyed by fire in 1915 and the present brick building was built in 1917.
A gymnasium was built in the year 1924. Seating arrangements included a 2″ by 10″ plank running the length of the west side of the gym. The plank also ran the full length of the east side except for the space occupied by the heating plant. Needless to say most of the sitting was done on the floor and at times this would still allow room for the games to be played!
The heating plant consisted of a furnace which would burn coal, wood, or whatever you fed it and was enclosed by a wire cage. The wire cage worked to the benefit of the Murrayville teams since the opponents were not familiar enough with it to shoot the side line shot and come down without hitting the wire cage, which in most instances left its scars in the form of a gash on the thigh. This gymnasium was commonly known as the Murrayville School Barn (see photo below). In spight of this facility many good basketball teams were developed as our trophy case shows. Many good times and memories were provided to all students participating. This gym was demolished in 1953 and a new one built in its place.”
In 1947 it was decided that Murrayville High School would close her doors. The kids of Murrayville are now educated as part of the Jacksonville School District.
There is still a grade K – 6 building in Murrayville which serves the Jacksonville District. It is called Murrayville-Woodson Elementary School.
Murrayville High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1893
Year closed: 1947
Consolidated to: Jacksonville School District
School nickname: “Shadows”
School colors: Orange & Black
School fight song: On Murrayville!
(Sung to “On Wisconsin”)
On Murrayville, On Murrayville,
You are doing fine!
Roll the ball clear round old (Chapin)
A basket sure this time!
On Murrayville, On Murrayville,
Fight on for your fame!
Fight, Fight, Fellows Fight
We’ll win this game!