The History of Toulon Academy
Toulon (population 1,400) is located in north-central Illinois in the center portion of Stark County. Illinois Route 17 and Illinois Route 91 intersect in Toulon. The town of Toulon is located about 25 miles northwest of Peoria and approximately 13 miles south-southeast of Kewanee. Toulon is the county seat of Stark County.
According to the Wikipedia web address of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toulon,_Illinois the town of Toulon was established in 1841 and was named after the town of Toulon, Tennessee. The Toulon name in Tennessee comes from a town in Europe called Toulon, France. An excellent account of the history of Toulon can be found at the web address of http://www.usgennet.org/usa/il/county/stark/books/toulonanniv/index.htm .
The following history of Toulon Academy was provided to us by John Ballentine:
“The Toulon Academy was organized in 1883 which offered college preparatory classes beyond the high school courses. In 1884, the Academy and Toulon High School merged, but separated again 1 year later. In 1896, the Academy Association purchased 6.67 acres of land at Prairie Avenue and Franklin Street for the purpose of constructing a new Academy building and sports facilities for football and track. This structure opened in February, 1897 and continued as the Academy until 1912, when the Academy permanently closed.
Names for the photo above: L-R front Grace Nicholson, Maude Johnston
Middle: Daisy Finley (John Ballentine’s grandmother),
Gertrude Cooley, Lenore Maxfield
Back: Everett Miner, Theodore Bacmeister
The Franklin Street property and building was offered by the Academy Association to the Toulon High school board which accepted in mid-1912. The high school transferred locations from the 1875 school building to the Academy building, leaving the entire use of the 1875 school for the grade school’s use. During this transfer, the high school was reorganized and renamed Toulon Township High School and its’ first class graduated in 1913.
The Academy, organized in 1883, discontinued operating in the spring of 1912. Discussions about the property transfer from the Academy to Toulon High School continued for several weeks prior to a 1912 vote on the issue. A favorable vote in July enabled the transfer and Toulon High was renamed Toulon Township High School. Speculation occurred in early September about the possibility of an athletic program.”
The Academy building was razed in July of 1923 when the new high school building was constructed on the same grounds.
Toulon Academy High School Quick Facts
Year “Academy” opened: 1884 (included high school)
Year academy ceased HS: 1885
Year Academy closed: 1912
Building used as: Toulon Township High School
Building razed: 1923
School nickname: “Mohawks”
School colors: Red & Black
(Excellent Research Provided by John Ballentine!)