The History of Philo High School
Philo (population 1,314) is located in east-central Illinois about 6 miles southeast of Champaign. The town was platted in the south-central portion of Champaign County in 1864. Illinois Route 130 is the main roadway leading to Philo and it intersects with County Highway 18 in town. The Black Slough Creek flows to the south of Philo. The Norfolk & Western railroad travels through the north side of town. The town was named Philo after the first name of the person who platted the town, E.B. Hale.
According to a “rootsweb” website page the early history of Philo is as follows:
“The village of Philo, of considerable importance, stands on a beautiful location, situated on the Toledo, Wabash and Western railroad. It was laid out in 1864 by E. B. Hale, the son of Philo Hale, and includes 80 acres of land. Elam Ellithrop built the first house in the village, and Wright built the second, and he was also the first station agent for the Toledo, Wabash and Western railroad. B. C. Morris, M. D., was the first physician; he was the first to sell goods also; he built the first hotel. The town contains one school-house, two churches, two elevators, one mill, one dry goods store, three grocery stores, two drug stores, two hardware stores, two hotels, three blacksmith shops, one tin shop, two harness makers, lumber yard and livery stable.”
Another rootsweb page that offers the history of the Philo High School Class of 1908 can be viewed at:
http://champaign.illinoisgenweb.org/schools/philo1908.html . A photo of the original Philo High School building was also located on the same rootweb website and can be viewed at http://champaign.illinoisgenweb.org/photoalbum/schools.html .
Philo High School served the community for over five decades. The late 1940s brought with it many changes in the way schooling was supported in Illinois. The consolidation push of the smaller school districts came to Philo and the surrounding communities at that time. After the 1949 school year the townspeople of Philo joined the efforts of several communitites in the area to form the Unity School District. The high school for the new district was located in Tolono.
The fate of the original high school building in Philo was provided to us by David Happ:
“After Philo HS merged with Tolono and formed the Unity (Unit 7) school district, the building was used for elementary grades. When Unity East was built, the Philo HS building, the Philo grade school, and the land were all sold to the Village of Philo. This was around 2001. The HS building that you have pictured on your site was then torn down, and the adjacent elementary school building was converted to Village offices.”
Some nice photos of school life at Philo High School can be viewed at the following web address created by G. Trimble: http://personal.linkline.com/trimble/Philo/
Philo High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year closed: 1949
Consolidated to: Unity School District (Tolono)
Philo HS team nickname: unavailable
PHS team colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable