The History of Saybrook High School
Saybrook (population 764) is located in eastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of McLean County. The town is located in a country setting on McLean County Road N3850 East Road about a mile south of Illinois Route 9. According to Saybrook’s web site (www.saybrook-il.com), the town is known as the “City of Shade and Water.” This is verified by the three branches of the Sangamon River which flow through town along with the pond located on the northwest side of Saybrook. The Norfolk & Western Railroad line runs through town as well and probably has a lot to do with its location. The town was settled in 1850 and first known as Chenney’s Grove. The name was changed to Saybrook in 1865 after towns of the same name in either Connecticut or Ohio. Saybrook area was first settled in 1825 by Jonathon Cheney, for whom the township (Cheney’s Grove) is named after. The name Saybrook comes from the name of a similar community in Connecticut.
The townspeople of Saybrook began an educational system for its children as early as 1832. In 1864 the the Saybrook Academy was opened which included primary, intermediate, and high school grades. In 1888 Saybrook High School was officially established. These classes were held in a frame school building. In 1895 a new brick building was built to house Saybrook High School. A new brick high school building was constructed in 1929 with the old brick building being utilized as a grade school. THe first high school graduation excercise was held out of the Saybrook Academy in 1880 with 3 members earning diplomas. The first class to graduate out of the 1929 building, the class of 1930, had 17 graduates.
Saybrook High School existed from 1864 through 1952. In the summer of 1952 the towns of Saybrook and nearby Arrowsmith voted to consolidate their high schools which established Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School. This school continued to be held in the 1929 Saybrook High School building. The Saybrook-Arrowsmith High School District continued through the 1988-89 school year when Saybrook-Arrowsmith conslidated with Colfax Octavia to form the Colfax Ridgeview School District.
The 1895 building pictured above was demolished in 1988, and the 1929 building was torn down in 1992. The gymnasium from the 1929 location is still standing, now used as the township garage.
Saybrook High School Quick Facts
Year opened (as a 2-yr school): 1886
First building opened: 1895
Four-year school began: 1920
New building opened: 1929
Year consolidated with Arrowsmith:1952
Year buildings razed: 1988 & 1992
Gymnasium today: still standing – used as township garage
School nickname: “Comanches”
School colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: unavailable
It is a fact that the Saybrook Comanches competed in basketball and football. It is probable that at some point track and baseball were also offered. While it was in operation, Saybrook was a member of the Tri-Valley Conference along with Anchor, Arrowsmith, Cooksville, Colfax, Towanda, Downs, Ellsworth, and Cropsey, all of which have their own pages on this website. If you have more information regarding other conference affiliation and records of the better teams that competed at Saybrook, please forward the information to us.