The History of Vermilion Academy High School in Vermilion Grove
Vermilion Grove (population aproximately 50) is located in far east-central Illinois. The town sits in the southeastern corner of Vermilion County about 5 miles west of the Indiana / Illinois state border. Vermilion Grove is about 15 miles south of Danville. County Roads E 400 North and 1500E intersect in town. U’S. Route 150 passes by about a quarter mile to the east. CSX Transportation Railroad passes through Vermilion Grove too. The small hamlet is about 2 blocks from north to south and 3 blocks from east to west.
The town has a storied history, being one of the first settlements in the county. Most of the first settlers of the area were Quakers. According to an internet article located at
Vermilion Grove was first settled in 1822. The town was settled four years before Danville became a town. The town remained a small settlement for many years, benefitting from the railroad which passed through town in the mid-1800s.
Townspeople eventually saw the need to educate their children. In 1874 area churches cooperated to build what was only the second school in the county. The school was named “The Academy” and eventually would focus on providing secondary, or high school, education. The cost to build the school building as well as the cost to operate the school came from donations.
According to the aforementioned article, the school was built to hold up to 300 students, however at its peak the enrollment reached to the 160s. The school became a staple in the area for nearly 60 years. In 1910 the facility added a gym, athletic field and more classrooms. A dorm was added to the complex a few years later.
Activities at the school included a school newspaper, plays, speech program, and sports. Financial aid was available for students who could not afford the tuition. Students went on to become ministers, teachers, and other types of professional careers and were ecouraged to “give back” to the school via financial means after leaving.
The article states that the Academy lasted into the early 1930s when the Great Depression took its toll. The Academy closed in 1932. The building was given to the local public school district in nearby Ridge Farm. It was used a grade school until 1965. The residents of Vermilion Grove continued to utilize the facility as a community center for several years. After a stint as a private residence, the building was torn down in 1987. A memorial for the school was erected by the school’s alumni in 1988 which stands to this day.
Vermilion Academy High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1874
Year closed: 1932
Students went on to attend: Ridge Farm High School
Vermilion Acad. team nickname: unavailable
Vermilion Acad. uniform colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable
We are certain that basketball was offered at Vermilion Academy. It is possible that baseball and track were offered as well. We are looking for the Vermilion Academy team nickname, uniform colors, fight song, coach’s names and season records.
states that the boys did indeed compete in the sport of basketball. Most of the games were against private “academies” like their own. The article does state however that the team played a game in 1925 against the Vermilion County Champions, Westville, and won!
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