The History of New Canton High School
New Canton (population 417) is located in far western Illinois in the northwestern portion of Pike County. The town is located about 12 miles southeast of Hannibal, Missourri. Illinois Route 96 is the main roadway through New Canton. The Kiser Creek flows to the east of town. The Mississippi River is both six miles west and six miles south of New Canton.
The history of the town of New Canton and its former high school are in need of research. We do know that New Canton suppoprted its own high school for several years. We believe the high school was established in the late 1800s. In a book titled “The Past And Present of Pike County” published in 1906, a passage regarding a man named Henry Card states the following:
“Henry Card pursued his education in the schools of New Canton and was graduated from the high school with the class of 1877.”
New Canton High School served the community and surrounding farm kids for about 5 decades. In 1948 the school districts of New Canton, Hull, and Kinderhook agreed to consolidate their educational assets. The result was the forming of the West Pike School District.
The following timeline regarding the formation of the West Pike School District was provided by long-time Hull resident Dixie Ward:
In 1945 the Hull High School building was destroyed by fire.
1947-49 Community meetings were held to organize West Pike Community Unit District #2
1948-49 Bonds were approved and renovation began at New Canton to build suitable facility for elementary students
1949-50 Construction begins on Hull Elementary School building.
Midterm 1950 All 27 rural schools in the district close. Students move to the Hull High School Gymnasium which is a separate building from the school that burned. New Canton High moves to Kinderhook High School. Kinderhook grade school students move to New Canton High building.
1950-51 Hull area students leave old gym at Christmas bread and move into new Hull elementary building for opening January 2.
1951-52 Hull Elementary School houses grades 1-8 and 1-3 from Kinderhook. New Canton Elementary houses grades 1-8 and 4-6 from Kinderhook. Grades 9-12 continue to go to Kinderhook High School.
1952-53 Kinderhook High School closes. West Pike High School opens for grades 7-12. New Canton houses grades 1-6 from the southern part of the district. Hull houses grades 1-6 from the northern part of the district.
To view the pages of the 1941 yearbook of New Canton High School, check out http://pages.mhlearningnetwork.com/barrybookman/1941newcantonbulldogshighschoolyearbook/ .
This information was provided by our good friend, B. Waters.
The high school for the new district was built in or near Kinderhook. The fate of the New Canton HS building is a good one. The building now serves as a community center for the town.
New Canton High School Quick Facts
Year opened: Late 1800s
Year closed: 1949
Consolidated to: West Pike School District (Kinderhook)
New Canton HS team nickname: the “Bulldogs”
NCHS team colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: “Cheer, Cheer For Old N.C. High”
University of Notre Dame Fight Song Tune
Cheer, Cheer for old N.C. High
Wake up the echoes with mighty cries.
Send a volley cheer on high,
Shake down the thunder from the skies!
What though the odds be great or small.
Old N.C. High will win over all!
While our loyal sons are marching
Onward to VICTORY!!
Ship ahoy, Ship Ahoy!
We’re from New Canton Illinois!
That’s no lie, that’s no bluff
We’re the team that has the stuff!!