The History of Sidney High School
Sidney (population 1,062) is located in east-central Illinois in the southeastern portion of Champaign County. The town is about 10 miles southeast of Champaign/Urbana. Railroads were what originally made this town prosper as the Missourri Pacific runs to the east of town and the Norfolk & Western runs directly through the heart of town. The main roadways leading to and from Sidney are County Highway 12 and County Road 1000. The Salt Fork Creek flows through the northwest side of Sidney.
According to “Place Names of Illinois” by Edward Calloway, Sidney was originally settled in 1837. It was named “Sydney” after one of the founders’ daughters. When the name was submitted to the state of Illinois a clerk changed the spelling to “Sidney” which it remains today.
The history of Sidney and its school system is in need of research. According to the web address provided to us by Chris Christenson, http://www.prairienet.org/~ndalrym/schoolold.html , Sidney school was built in 1895 and housed grades 1 – 11. Students who wished to attend a fourth year of high school in those early days had to do so at another location.
We are not certain if Sidney High School ever added a fourth year of curriculum. Sidney High School served the community nicely for several decades. At some point, we believe it to be the late 1940s, the folks of Sidney agreed to join several other Champaign County towns and became part of the Unity School District.
The high school for the new district was located in nearby Tolono. The original Sidney High School building served as a grade school for many years for the Unity School District. Chris Christensen tells us that the Sidney school building was demolished in the late 1990s. At one time the building was possibly considered one of the oldest school buildings still in use for its original purpose in Illinois.
Sidney High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1895
Year closed: 1949 (possibly later)
Consolidated to: Unity School District (Tolono)
Sidney HS team nickname: “Cardinals”
Sidney HS team colors: Red & White
Sidney School Fight Song: unavailable