The History of Onarga Grand Prairie Seminary
Onarga (population 1,438) is located in upper eastern Illinois in west-central Iroquois County. U.S. Route 45 meets up with Illinois Route 54 in Onarga. Interstate Highway 57 lies to the west of town and has exit ramps leading to Route 54. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad lays some tracks through Onarga as well. Onarga lies about 30 miles southwest of Kankakee. Onarga was being settled in the early 1800s and became incorporated as a town in llinois in 1853.
Onarga has a great history of educational opportunities for its children. Besides the public school originally offered in town, there was a private, co-educational boarding school offered in Onarga as well. It was offered to predominately upper class kids whose parents were able to pay the tuition.
The school was named the Grand Prairie Seminary and was established in 1864. To put this in perspective, the school was established while the Civil War was being fought! Grand Prairie was a “private preparatory school” designed for intense and worldly education. In its day it was one of the premier schools in the United States.
The trend for private co-ed schools began to wane in the early 1900s. The Board of Trustees for Grand Prairie decided to go into a different direction. In 1917 it was decided to close the Grand Prairie School and “open” the Onarga Military School for boys. The facilities remained the same, however the name was changed and the admittance of girls was ceased.
Onarga Grand Prairie Seminary High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1864
Year closed: 1917
Consolidated to: Onarga Military Academy
School nickname: unavailable
School colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable