Tallula High School “Flyers”

Tallula High School Building Built in 1927
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Now Used as PORTA Grade School

The History of Tallula High School

Tallula (population 638), besides having a great name, is located on Il. Rt. 123 in southwest Menard County.  Tallula is located just 20 miles northwest of Springfield.  The origin of the town is in need of research..

Tallula residents began an educational system in the late 1800s.  It was then, also, that high school courses began being offered for the students of the area. Like many similar-sized towns of the day, Tallula High School was able to erect a modern, brick school building in 1923. This information was provided to us by Diane Kording Bottom.

It was in 1963 that a consolidation effort was undertaken by several small school districts around Petersburg.  The effort was realized and Tallula subsequently put the “T” in the P.O.R.T.A. High School system. The former Tallula High School building served as a PORTA School District Grade School for grades PK – 3 through the 2010-2011 school year.

Sadly, as relayed to us by our good friend Phil Shadid, the school building usage has also come to an end. The PORTA school district decided to close the school due to dwindling enrollment at the end of the 2010-11 school year.  The school will be put up for private auction.

Suzy Jorns advises the brick school building was built in 1922 and opened January 5, 1923.

Tallula High School Quick Facts

Year opened:               late 1800s

Current bldg built:        1923

Year closed:               1963

Consolidated to:          P.O.R.T.A. School District

Bldg use today:           PORTA Grade School (PK – 4)

Tallula HS nickname:   the “Flyers”

School colors:            Royal Blue & Orange

School Fight Song:     “We’re Loyal To You Tallula”

                                            UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS FIGHT SONG TUNE

                                            COURTESY OF DIANE KORDING BOTTOM

We’re loyal to you Tallula,

                                 We’re orange and blue, Tallula.

                                 We’ll back you to stand

                                 ‘Gainst the best in the land

                                 For we know you have sand, Tallula!

                                                Rah! Rah!

                                 So crack out the ball, Tallula

                                 We’re backing you all, Tallula.

                                 Our team is our fame protector:

                                 On! Boys for we expect a

                                 Victory from you Tallula!


                                 Che-he, cha-ha, cha-ha-ha-ha,

                                 Tallula, Tallula,

                                 Rah, Rah, RAH!


                                 Fling out that dear old flag of

                                 Orange and Blue,

                                 Lead on your sons and daughters

                                 Fighting for you

                                 Like men of old, on giants.

                                 Placing reliance, shouting defiance


                                 Amid the broad green plains that nourish our land,

                                 For honest Labor and for Learning we stand.

                                 And unto thee we pledge our heart and our hand,

                                 Dear Alma Mater, Tallula High!


Tallula High School brought IHSA hardware in Boy’s Basketball.  Very little information is available on the IHSA web site regarding the school.  If you are able to share any information with us we hope you will take the time to do it. We are interested in season records, coach’s names, and any information on other sports played at Tallula High School.  The success of the Boy’s Basketball team is listed below.

Boys Basketball

The boys of 1938-39 had an excellent season.  It was not real common for a small school to come out of a District Tournament and go on to win the Regional against the much larger schools.  The Flyers of 1938-39 however did just that!  Another District Championship was earned in the 1959-60 season at Tallula High.

1933-34   4 – 12        Coach Wheeler

Tallula HS Basketball Team of 1933-34
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Submitted by MIKE TRENARY (left click on photo for larger view)

*From Mike Trenary regarding the THS Team of 1933-34 pictured above:

The 1933-34 Tallula basketball team finished with a record of 4-12.  Their coach was Mr. Wheeler.  The leading scorer for the season was Dean Jones, #4 in the team photo.  In 1933 there were 66 students in the 4-year high school.”


1938-39   22 – 5    District & Regional Champions (see article below)

1959-60               District Champions



Phil Shadid

Coach O. G. (Orrie) Bryant assembled 5 seniors, 2 juniors and one freshman at the beginning of the season to see how the small school would fare against its larger neighbors.  Tallula had no conference affiliation and played mostly area teams as well as taking part in two near-by mid-season tournaments.

The Flyers started with two lopsided wins before being edged by Petersburg on Nov. 29, 1938, by a score of 25-21.  Senior John Janssen and junior Kenneth Belton became the main scorers for the team but they had plenty of help from junior John Lamper, freshman J. R. Gilbert, and seniors Lloyd Loeffler, Mark Maurer, Gerald Jones and Don Beard.

They racked up some pretty impressive offensive numbers for that era of high school basketball, scoring in the 50s twice and in the 40s six times.

In the Petersburg holiday tournament they easily beat Franklin (41-17), Waverly (37-16), and Riverton (23-18), before falling to the host team in the championship game (24-22).  Tallula went on a five game winning streak, lost a quarterfinal game in the Ashland tournament and then won nine straight.

They won their first ever District tournament (at Greenview) on Feb. 25, 1939, beating Bath-Lynchburg 30-21 in the title game.  The following week, playing in the Athens Regional, Belton and Janssen combined for 18 points as THS edged Havana 28-23.  The same two boys racked up 28 points as they avenged their early season losses to Petersburg by whipping the Blue Jays 37-25.  The next night (March 3) they came from behind and beat Athens for the championship 25-17.  Scoring was evenly divided with Jones and Lamper garnering five points each.

On March 8 the Flyers entered uncharted territory: the Sectional Tournament at Canton. The boys failed to hold a halftime lead and lost to a talented Lincoln squad 29-24.  Belton led with 9 points while Lamper had 8.

A big rally at the school welcomed the team home after a very successful season of 22 wins and 5 losses.  The seniors were among 18 who graduated from the high school in May 1939 (the 50th annual graduation; 7 girls, 11 boys).

Signs that the Tallula district was shrinking in student population in 1939 was the graduation of only 11 from the 8th grade (6 girls, 5 boys).

But overall it was a great season, one that would never be repeated.

The following information was also submitted by Phil Shadid:

Season   W-L

1959-60  13-13    District Champs     Coach’s name unavailable

1960-61    3-19

1961-62    4-17

1962-63    8-9                                   Coach Lynn Toute

Tallula HS Gymnasium Scoreboard 1923 – 2011
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Now On Display at Petersburg PORTA HS Gymnasium

**Last game played: Feb. 27, 1963, Ashland District Tournament:

Tallula 58, Ashland 61.  Scoring for Tallula:  Mike Bottom 24 points (a 6-2 senior, he was leading scorer for the team during the entire season), John Tedde 12, Floyd Grogan 8, Richard Miller 8, Gay Hinds 6.

**Last game won: Feb. 22, 1963, regular season finale:

Tallula 78, Edinburg 65.  Scoring for Tallula:  Bottom 18, Grogan 18, Tedde 17, Hinds 10, Buddy King 8, Miller 7.

**May 1963 there were 58 students in the high school, 125 in the grade school.  Eleven seniors (3 boys) graduated from high school in 1963.

**A student from Tallula grade school submitted the winning entry in 1963 to name the new consolidated school district.  He was awarded a $25.00 Savings Bond for the name “PORTA”  …Petersburg-Oakford-Rock Creek-Tallula-Atterberry.

We Are Seeking More Information…

regarding THS and the town of Tallula.  Please take the time to answer the School Submission Form or Guest Commentary Form to assist us.  What were the other sports offered, other activities offered, and successful teams that did not win IHSA hardware?  Especially interesting would be the record of the 1938-39 basketball squad.  You can contact us via e-mail at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net ..

You may also write to us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.     60631

Tallula HS Class of 1937

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Submitted by MIKE TRENARY

Tallula High School
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