Victoria High School “Trojans”

Victoria High School
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Home of the “Trojans”
Victoria School Bell
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Photo by Richard Soseman


Victoria (population 323) is located in upper-western Illinois in northeastern Knox County. Illinois Route 167 is the main roadway leading to and from Victoria. The town is located 9 miles east of Wataga, 12 miles northeast of Galesburg. A branch of the Forman Creek flows by the northeast side of town.

The history of the town begins in 1835. According to legend, George Reynolds stole the town and moved it to its current location where his cabin sat. This locale was important for the fact the stagecoach line between Burlington and Chicago went through this area. The Swedes who eventually settled in Bishop Hill first stayed in Victoria and is believed if they had converted Eric Janson to Methodism, Victoria may have been home to the Swedish Colony.

A newspaper article from 1929 located in the Kewanee Star Courier stated that Victoria was first laid out in 1839, the same year that England crowned their Queen Victoria, hence the name. In 1949 the small town was moved one mile to the west. The first store and hotel were opened in 1837. The hotel was a well known stop along the Burlington to Chicago Stage Coach route from the late 1830s through the mid 1950s. At that time 4-horse stage coaches (Concord) would roll into town and travelers would spend the night in Victoria.

Matt Smith adds this bit of historical background on VIctoria:

“Victoria was once a booming city with a prosperous future due to its successful mining industry that lay south of town in an area now called Little John Conservation Club. Victoria’s historical significance is that it was a major Swedish Settlement in its day. It is home to the first Swedish Methodist Church in the world. A railroad also ran to Victoria from Wataga to transfer the freshly mined coal. This is significant because it was the Shortest Railroad in America at about 9 miles long. Once the train arrived in Victoria, it ran backwards back to Wataga due to the abrupt end of Americas Shortest Railroad!  The railroad is no longer in use, and Victoria is no longer home to a great mining society.”

An article located in an 1886 book quoted on the Knox County IL GenWeb Project website states the following about the Victoria school in 1886:

“There is a very good school here, which is partially graded.  A. W. Ryan is Principal, with Mrs. A. W. Ryan, Assistant.  The enrollment in the upper department is 43, in the lower 42.  The average attendance in both, 75..”

In 1895, Victoria High School was established, and became a community high school in 1919 despite some opposition (see Principal’s questions below). It lasted until 1948 when the towns of RioOneida, Victoria, and Altona formed R.O.V.A. High School located in Oneida. The grade schools in each town remained active at the time.

The school building fate and a little history on the school in Victoria was provided to us by Matt Smith:

“The Victoria school building is no longer used as a high school, nor is it used as the elementary school that it once was. It was sold to the village of Victoria by ROWVA school district for 1$ (practically given, but this gives financial record of the transaction)  The Village of Victoria sold it to a man who now runs a business out of the building.

The reason for the sale and closing of the Victoria school was a consolidation of  the elementary schools of Rio, Oneida, Wataga, Victoria, and Altona. The consolidation formed ROWVA West Elementary (3rd and 4th grades in Wataga) ROWVA Central Elementary (1st and 2nd grades in Oneida)  And ROWVA East Elementary (5th and 6th grades in Altona).”

Victoria was featured in a 1920 Illinois schools journal. The following facts about the school were furnished:

No. of districts consolidated:          3

Square miles:                               11

Assessed valuation:                      $293,227

Annual tax levy:                            $4,536

Tax rate:                                      1.59

Annual tax levy before:                  $2,625

Teachers now:                              5

Teachers before:                           4

Enrollment now:                           130

Enrollment in grade school:           98

Enrollment in high school:             32

Aid from vocational fund:               No

Public conveyance:                      No

Years of high school course:         3

Months in year:                            8.5

Knox County Superintendent of Schools W.F. Boyes commented in the article about the establishment of the consolidated school was a slow, but soon-to-be-effective one:

“This is a school that will amount to a great deal in the comparatively near future, but it has not done all that it should have done since the consolidation.

Of the three districts united, one was practically a unit in opposition to the plan. This was, however, due to an ill feeling in that district toward the village of Victoria because of telephone and road difficulties. The people of the district fought it all the way through the Supreme Court. The directors of the Consolidated district, with this in mind, have moved rather slowly and, I think, we are wise in doing so. A petition is circulating now for the proposed uniting of another district with the present consolidation.

The plan this summer is to erect a new building that will serve as a real community building. As yet the community has not benefited particularly through the consolidation.

The needs of the children are better met than under the old plan in this: formerly there were two teachers in the Victoria School and two outside, making it impossible to do any real satisfactory High school work. Under the new plan there are three teachers doing grade work and two doing High school work. The High school has provisional recognition from the State Department and receives $1,500 or $1,800 a year as tuition.

The location of the village of Victoria, eight or twelve miles from the town nearest to it, makes it certain that this will be an important school some day.”


The 1920 Victoria School Building is still standing as of 2021 however it does not appear to be in use..

Victoria Student Body of 1932
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Victoria’s Original School Building – 1920
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Year High School Opened: 1895

Year High School Closed:  1948

Consolidated to:                ROWVA High School

School mascot:                 the “Trojans”

School Colors:                   Purple & Gold

School Song:                     unavailable

Victoria High School Gym
Victoria High School
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Baseball Team – 1927


Through the history of Victoria High School, several sports were offered for their students.  Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball, Track, and Baseball were offered at least at some point at VHS.


As you can see by the photo to the right, the Victoria High School boys definitely competed in baseball. If you have the chance, click on the photo for an enlarged version.  Then read the caption underneath.  It appears this group of boys were hard workers but dd not fair to well overall.

During the 1926-27 baseball year, the Vix went 6-3 including taking championship honors at the tournament they hosted.  The Vix drubbed Altona in that tournament 15-3 that also included teams from Oneida and Wataga.

Game Time in Victoria
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Not much is known about their teams, except one district title was won by the Vix.  That title came in the 1938-1939 school year.  Scores involving Victoria High School boys basketball located on a website titled “Illinois High School Post Season Basketball Scores” are printed below.


1920-21                             Galesburg District Tournament                 Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd lost to Yates City 23-21

Galesburg beat Wyoming in title game.


1921-22                             Galesburg District Tournament                 Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd lost to Gilson 21-15

Galesburg beat Williamsfield in title game.


1924-25     12-7                Postseason scores needed.                         Coach’s name needed.


1931-32                             Galesburg District Tournament                  Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd lost to Altona 12-10

Galesburg beat Abingdon in title game.


1932-33                           Galesburg District Tournament                   Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Matherville 23-11

2nd Rd lost to Rio 33-9

Galesburg beat Knoxville in title game.


1933-34                            Galesburg District Tournament                   Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Matherville 31-17

2nd Rd Beat Oneida 27-11

Semi-Final lost to Galesburg (?) (score needed)

Galesburg beat Knoxville in title game.


1934-35                            Galesburg District Tournament                   Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat New Windsor 15-13

2nd Rd lost to Knoxville 19-16

Galesburg Beat Knoxville in title game.


1935-36                           Galesburg District Tournament                    Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Rio 40-15

Semi-Final lost to Altona 31-13

Altona beat Avon in title game.


1936-37                           Galesburg Regional Tournament                 Coach’s name & record needed.

(Victoria did not compete in District Tourney this season.)

1st Rd Beat Avon 25-20

Semi-Final lost to Knoxville 36-16

Galesburg Beat Knoxville in title game.


1937-38                           Maquon District Runner-Up                         Coach’s name & record needed.

1st Rd Beat Prairie City 25-22

Semi-Final Beat Maquon 24-20

Title game lost to Altona 22-19


1938-39                           Maquon District Champions                        Coach’s name & record needed.

Knox County Tournament Champs

District Tourney Results

1st Rd Beat Gilson 34-15

Semi-Final Beat Maquon 25-17

Title Game Beat Yates City 16-12

Galesburg Regional Tournament Qualifier

1st Rd Beat Knoxville 26-19 

Semi-Final lost to Abingdon 19-17

Galesburg Beat Abingdon in title game.


1939-40             Postseason scores, season record, and coach’s name needed.


1940-41                           Oneida District Tournament                         Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd Beat LaFayette 37-19

Semi-Final lost to Maquon 35-29

Maquon beat Oneida in title game.


1941-42        Postseason scores, season record, and coach’s name needed.


1942-43                          Oneida District Tournament                          Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd lost to Brimfield  52-27

Altona beat Oneida in title game.


1943-44                          Oneida District Runner-Up                            Coach’s name & season record needed.

Early Round Scores Needed.

Title Game lost to Altona 44-30


1944-45                          Galesburg Regional Tournament                  Coach’s name & season record needed.

(Did not compete in District Tourney this season.)

1st Rd lost to Altona 40-35

Galesburg beat Altona in title game.


1945-46                          Oneida District Tournament                          Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd lost to LaFayette 50-31

Oneida beat Altona in title game.


1946-47                          Oneida District Tournament                          Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd lost to Altona 38-32

Oneida beat Woodhull in title game.


1947-48                           Oneida District Tournament                         Coach’s name & season record needed.

1st Rd Beat Woodhull 37-29

*Semi-Final lost to Wataga 46-37

Oneida beat Wataga in title game.




The sport was offered for the ladies, at least in the 1924-25 school year.  They played 3 games against other schools, a loss to Altona and 2 losses to Galesburg.  The other two games featured that year was a first team win over the grade school team, and the 2nd teamers also beating the grade school team.



Again, the only information for this sport comes during the 1924-25 season.  A name that was unanimously talked about that year was a gentleman by the name of Olmstead.  Olmstead set several meet records that year.  According to the 1925 yearbook, Olmstead set a new record at every meet except for a track meet in Macomb where he placed 2nd.  The Victoria Tracksters took part in meets in Macomb, Urbana, Lombard, and Bradley University and earned a 2nd place team finish at the Oneida Invitational that year.

Victoria Baseball Field – West of School
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Photo by Richard Soseman
Lunch Hour at Victoria School
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We hope you enjoy the following memories and facts as shared by former Victoria school alum Wayne E Swedeen:

“My Years at Victoria School were 1949-1955.  When I started school in Victoria (1949) the consolidation of schools into ROVA had taken place.  At that time Victoria had grades 1-8 and HS 9-12 were consolidated in Oneida IL.  The opening of the new HS building in Oneida in 1954 (Dedicated Dec. 1954), the old Oneida HS building was used for Oneida grade School and Jr. High (grades 7-8) from the four district towns of Rio, Oneida, Victoria and Altona. Victoria School was then grades 1-6 and remained that way until long after I left the area in 1971.

Grade School Games at Victoria
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Photo from Wayne Sweeden

The gymnasium is a real piece of work.  I’m sure it would be ruled a hard hat area today! The windows are at ground level.  The playing surface below grade.  The spectator balcony is at about ground level, suspended out over court.  Windows on East, West and south sides.  The balcony from the floor up was slightly higher than the basket, but with heating pipes hanging below the balcony floor, there wasn’t much head room and not many over-the-head inbound passes.  The Bank board and basket were hung flush on the balcony, not extended out over the floor as they are today.  There was padding on the balcony edge by the baskets in case anyone were tall enough, and foolish enough to try a driving lay-up, or what today may be called a slam dunk.   There was barely enough room on the edges of the court to put a chair and players and coach had to always be alert to keep their feet and body parts off the floor and out of the way.  As you can imagine, the noise levels were intense.

The gymnasium then, like today’s “mega gyms”, was a multipurpose area.  It was used for basketball, volleyball, dance lessons, band practice, special occasion parties and probably a lot of other things I have forgotten.”

Thanks for the great information and memories Wayne!!

Victoria Senior Class of 1928
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Courtesy of Wayne Sweeden
Victoria Cheerleaders
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More Information is needed on Victoria High School. We are seekng information regaring the more successful teams, players, and coaches who graced the courts and fields of Victoria High School.  If you can offer any assistance in documenting this information please contact us via e-mail at ..You may also write us at:

Illinois HS Glory Days

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

Victoria High School
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Girls Basketball – 1924

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