Philo St. Joseph High School

The History of Philo St. Joseph Academy 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..

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.”

Information on Philo High School can be viewed on this website by clicking here. We have found the following information on St. Joseph Academy ( a grade and high school) in Philo on the internet. According to the web address of from the Catholic Archdiocese of Peoria:

“The first Catholic school in Philo opened in 1905 as St. Joseph’s Academy, an elementary and high school that served both the Philo and Bongard churches. The Dominican Sisters of Springfield gave 95 years of service to the school, from its founding until their withdrawal in 2000.

The original three-story building served as both a school and a convent for the Dominicans. A boarding school opened in 1907 for students from outlying areas who returned home on weekends. St. Joseph’s high school graduated its final class in 1938, and the following fall the elementary school reopened as St. Thomas.”

It appears that Philo St. Joseph Academy was a co-educational school, at least in the end.  The above two paragraphs contain the totality of the information we currently have available on the history of Philo St. Joseph Academy.  Please contact us if you have ANY further information to share.

Philo St. Joseph Academy Quick Facts

Year opened:                                 1905

Year boarding school opened:         1907

Year closed:                                  1938

Re-opended in 1939 as:                  St. Thomas Grade School

St. Joseph Acad. team nickname:   unavailable

St. Joseph Acad. team colors:        unavailable

School Fight Song:                        unavailable


Two articles were brought to our attention that helped us track St. Joseph’s athletic program, though to a very limited extent.  On the IHSA website ( there is an article under the “Illinois H.S.toric” section regarding Catholic HIgh School basketball state tournaments in Illinois.  In the inaugural Illinois Catholic High School State Tournament held in 1928, Philo St. Joseph Academy finished  FOURTH (!

Another article was sent to us by our good friend Phil Shadid.  The article is from the Illinois State Register Newspaper of Springfield and is dated October 03, 1938.  This would have been St. Joweph Academy’s final season.  This article simply lists St. Josephs as one of the participating schools in football for the Illinois Catholic High School Conference for downstate teams.

So we know that St. Joseph Academy High School participated in boys basketball and football. Baseball and track may also have been offered. We are in need of the schools team colors, nickname, fight song, coach’s names, and season records.

Other Activities

Other activities were likely offered at St. Joseph as well.  Band, chorus, FFA, FHA, and many other clubs and organizations may have helped to make the Philo St. Joseph experience a well-rounded one.  Please contact us via hte means listed below if you have this information and would like to share it on this page.

We Are Seeking Your Help

If you have ANY information you would like to share about the great history and great accomplishments enjoyed at Philo St. Joseph Academy high school we are hopeful you will write to us.  We are especially interested in a photo of the St. Joseph high school building.  You can e-mail us items at  You can also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.   60631

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