The History of Scottland High School
Scottland (population approximately 100) is located in far eastern Illinois about 20 miles south of Danville. The town appears to be unincorported in Illinois. According to MapQuest (www.mapquest.com) Scottland is about 5 blocks long to the north and south and 3 blocks wide to the east and west. Located in northeastern Edgar County, it is probable that Scottland was initiated by a railroad line that runs through it, currently owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company. On various maps since its founding, the town has been listed as Scotland and as Scottland. The Scott Bros. General Store was a central feature of the town in the 1800’s. The town is nestled on County Road N 1950th Street about a mile north of U.S. Route 36. The Indiana state border is about 3 miles east of Scottland. The Salt Fork Creek flows just to the northeast of town. 6 miles east of Scottland, just east of the Indiana border, is the town of Dana, boyhood home of Ernie Pyle, famous journalist killed in World War II.
The following history of Scottland High School was offered to us by Carol Craig. It is an excellent account of the school system and history of Scottland, Illinois:
“HISTORY OF THE SCOTTLAND AND ITS SCHOOLS”
The Village of Scottland, Illinois
William Scott was born July 13, 1819, near Bloomington, Indiana, the oldest child of Samuel and Rebecca Scott’s ten children. When he was ten years of age, his family moved to Prairie Twp. in Edgar County and built a split log cabin. In his early days, he, as well as his father, engaged extensively in buying and feeding stock on a large scale, then driving them to Chicago. They used money from cattle sales to purchase black, prairie land at $1.25 an acre. His father became the largest landowner in the county, having 3,500 acres, as well as 1,000 acres in the state of Kansas. William owned 1,000 acres on which the town of Scottland is now located.
In 1843, William married Elizabeth Legate. They were the parents of nine boys and one girl. He was one of the first in the area to improve his farm, building a large, brick colonial home, at the cost of $12,000, located on the “Ocean to Ocean” road, northeast of Scottland.
The land for Scottland was surveyed and laid out in 1872. Mr. Scott, for whom the land was named, donated the right of way and one half of the town lots to the railroad company to induce them to locate the town there. The little village soon had between two to three hundred inhabitants, enough to support the businesses that were established. The post office was moved to Scottland in 1873. Three drygoods stores, two blacksmith shops, and the grain elevator were among the first firms to be built. Two doctors soon set up practices in town. The Methodist church was dedicated in 1883. There were two active lodges. The early school was damaged by a cyclone and was rebuilt in 1906. Later, drugstores, a flouring-mill, barber shops, beauty shops, grocery stores, hardware stores, engine repair garages, a hotel, a butcher shop, gas stations, a paint store, a café, and a soil service were added.
Besides the Scotts, the Shane, Bonwell, Dawson, Smith, Hess, Littlefield and Light families were some of the early families who currently have descendants living in the Scottland area.
Scottland celebrated a Centennial in 1972, publishing an excellent book of text and pictures, from which this information was gleaned. Nearly all the businesses are gone, the post office closed, and the population has diminished, but the town remains a close knit community, with pride in their interesting past.
THE HISTORY OF THE SCOTTLAND SCHOOL SYSTEM
The first school, built before the turn of the century, was a two story building, one room on the ground floor and one above. It was used for grade school pupils only. The first teachers received $30-$45 per month. After this building was damaged by a cyclone, Mr. Scott and the railroad donated land to erect a new grade school in 1906. Classes were held in the townhouse and over a store while the school was being built in its permanent location. The two-story building consisted of the bell tower, the main hallway, the staircase, west classrooms, and a principal’s office. A new addition was built in 1928-29, which included the first gymnasium and a stage at ground level, and a study hall and three small classrooms on the top floor. A 1936 wing was added to the west of the original building, which housed the science and home economics departments. The north addition, added in 1948, included restrooms and a mezzanine level where there was a large classroom with a tube type fire escape and a larger principal’s office. The last addition was the new gymnasium, built in 1953 on the north side of the building. Remodeling was done in 1959 to convert the old gym into a cafeteria on the lower level, and a study hall and two classrooms on the middle level. In the 1960’s a building in the south of town was purchased to house the industrial arts and agriculture programs.
In 1907, a petition was put forth and passed to combine districts 18, 19, and 23. By then, a ninth year had been added and students were studying algebra, Latin, English, and physiology. In 1923, a basketball squad was organized, which practiced outdoors until a gym was built. The following year, one of the best track squads in the county was organized. The tenth grade was added to the high school between 1906 and 1919. In 1923, the first three year class graduated; and in 1937, the first four year class graduated from a complete Scottland High School. Students no longer had to finish high school at Chrisman, Dana, Bono, or Paris high schools. Future Farmers of America was introduced in 1936 and Future Homemakers of America followed in 1938. As the years passed, band, chorus, other sports and various clubs came into existence. In 1944-45, the first yearbook was published. The “Eagles”’ school song was Notre Dame Victory March.
In 1972, a referendum was passed to consolidate the Scottland and Chrisman school districts. The Scottland building housed the 6-7-8 junior high school students until 1979, when the state determined the building did not meet the Life, Health, and Safety Codes. With repairs being too costly, and a referendum failed to pass, the building was closed and sold at public auction. The brick building was torn down, leaving only the gymnasium. The property is currently privately owned, and the campus is used for a home site and a pasture for horses.
The Scottland School left a commendable legacy. Many students were well prepared for success in life. Its past can be recalled only in our memories.”
It cannot be said ANY better than that. Great job Carol Craig!
The original Scottland High School building has been torn down. The former gymnasium is still standing, owned by William Gill. Bill tells us the gym has been kept in great condition (see the photos below). Though Bill uses a portion of the gym area for storage, his sons Roy Douglas and William Clayton played many a basketball game with their buddies on the floor when they were growing up. Great job by Bill Gill in maintaining the history and nostalgia of the Scottland HS gymnasium!
For more reading on the history of Scottland High School go to the web address of http://www.archive.org/stream/historyofschools00hump#page/n101/mode/2up
Scottland High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year closed: 1972
Consolidated to: Chrisman School District
School team nickname: the “Eagles”
School team colors: Purple & White
School Fight Song: “Scottland High Victory March”
Notre Dame University Fight Song Tune
Cheer, Cheer for old Scottland High,
Wake up the echoes, Cheering her name,
Send a loyal cheer on high,
Shake out the thunder from the sky.
What though the odds be great or small,
Old Scottland High will win over all.
While her loyal sons are marching
Onward to victory!!