Penfield High School “Tigers”

Former Penfield High / Grade School
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Now Penfield Agricultural Museum
Penfield High School Complex Rear View 2013
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The History of Penfield High School

Penfield (population 193) is a small farming community located just south of U.S. Route 136 on County Road 22 in northeastern Champaign County. Penfield is located about 16 miles northeast of Champaign. A minor branch of the Vermillion River runs through the north side of town. The town was established in 1876 and named after Guy Penfield, vice-president of the Havana, Rantoul, and Eastern Railroad. (Place Names of Illinois by Edward Callary.)

Penfield’s Oldest Building
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Former Church Building

The history of Penfield and its school system is in need of research. Penfield is well known as an antique tractor supporter and its former grade/high school (pictured above) is now used as an agricultural museum. Penfield High School probably was established in the late 1800’s. Though it is not verified, we feel Penfield High School may have closed her doors as a high school in the late 1940’s. The high school aged kids of Penfield were then bused to nearby Armstrong to attend high school. Armstrong High School is still in operation today. Penfield may have maintained its grade school status for some years after the high school closed. However, this information is not known.

Penfield should be commended for their excellent use of their former school building. As you can see above, Penfield residents took advantage of this great resource and put it to a worthwhile and proud usage. Other great photos of Penfield, Illinois can be enjoyed at and . Excellent job!!

Penfield High School Quick Facts

Year opened:              late 1800’s/early 1900s

Year closed:               late 1940’s, possibly 1947

School nickname:       the “Tigers”

School colors:            Blue & White (?)

School Fight Song:     unavailable


Penfield High School definitely offered basketball as is evidenced by their two District Titles won. PHS probably also offered baseball and track like all other small schools of its day. We are hopeful a Penfield resident can help us out with this information.

Boys Basketball

The Penfield boys won two District titles during their existence. It is quite possible other great seasons were enjoyed. If you have this information, please share it with us.

The two title years are listed below. In 1928-29, the school won the district title with just 15 boys in the school (10 girls) and it did not have the luxury of having its own gym. The Penfield High School boys won the first two games of the Sectional Tournament placing them in the SWEET 16 of the IHSA Tournament in the one-class basketball tournament. Included in their wins in the Sectional were victories over Marshall and Kankakee, schools many times larger then Penfield. The PHS boys would lose in the title game to Champaign High School, who would go on to place 2nd in the IHSA Tournament that year.

The following season, Penfield started the season with over 30 consecutive victories before bowing out of the state tournament at the District level. Unfortunately, records of the teams are not known.

We have located some scores from the IHSA State Tourney that Penfield High School participated in on a website titled “Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores“. The scores that we located on this website are reprinted below.

Beginning of the basketball program through 1927-28 Postseason scores, coaches’ names, and records needed.

1928-29  26 – 5    IHSA SWEET 16 FINALISTS!                        Coach Stanley Hadden

                            Paxton District Champions

Title Game Beat Rantoul 27-20

Danville Sectional Tourney 2nd Place!

                            1st Rd. Beat Marshall 24-20 (O/T)

                           Semi-final Beat Kankakee 29-15

                           Title Game – Lost to Champaign 32-20

Leading PHS Scorers:

Willard 10, Inman 8, Zimmerman 2

Champaign Placed Second in State!

1929-30  33 – 1   Undefeated Regular Season                       Coach Stanley Hadden

Hoopeston District Tourney Runner-Up

 Semi-Final Beat Milford 27-12

Title Game lost to Cissna Park 26-22

Cissna Park was 30-1 entering the game

Cissna Park lost in 1st Rd of Sectional

**After the 1929-30 season ended the Penfield High School boys had 4 starting players that wished to play one more year of high school basketball. Inman would go on to play at Armstrong High School. Zimmerman, Willard, and Starns would continue their last season at Rantoul High School. The boys continued to have an impact during their senior years. Inman led the Armstrong High School team to a District Championship and a spot in the Sectional title game against…… guessed it, the Rantoul High School basketball team. Rantoul would be Armstrong 23 – 19 in that game. Rantoul would lose in the Elite 8 game to Johnson City who would place 4th in the finals of the IHSA Tourney that year.

1930-31  Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed.

1931-32         Urbana District Tournament                               Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd lost to Sidney 30-7

Urbana beat Ogden in title game

1932-33  Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed.

1933-34  Postseason scores, coach’s name, and record needed.

1934-35         Fisher District Tournament                                 Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Lost to Fisher 56-10

Fisher placed 2nd in District

1935-36         Farmer City District Tournament                        Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Gifford 33-28

                      Title Game – Lost to Farmer City 48-14

1936-37        St. Joseph District Champions!                       Coach’s name & record needed

1st Rd Beat Mansfield

                     Semi-Final Beat Urbana University HS 42-16

                     Title Game Beat Sidney 46-29

Champaign Regional Tourney

1st Rd. Lost to Fisher 31-20

Fisher lost in semi-final round.

No other scores were located on the Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores website for Penfield.


If You Have Any Information…

…you would like to share regarding the Penfield High School successes we urge you to share them with us. The hard work and dedication of those who made the school work and succeed should not be forgotten. You can e-mail information to us at or write to us at:

Illinios HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago,  IL   60631

Bloomington Pantagraph, March 10, 1929
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Paxton Record, March 14, 1929
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Jacksonville Daily Journal, September 6, 1930
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Paxson Record, February 6, 1930
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Paxton Record, March 13, 1930
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Paxton Record, March 29, 1929
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Penfield Veteran’s Memorial 2013
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