The History of Willow Hill High School
Willow Hill (population 250) is located in southeastern Illinois in the east-central portion of Jasper County. Illinois Route 49 travels through Willow Hill and connects it to Illinois Route 33 just one mile to the north. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad passes by the north side of town. The Hickory Creek flows through the northeast site of town as well. The town, also known as the “W.H.”, is located about 30 miles southeast of Effingham.
The history of Willow Hill and its former school system are in need of research. An article found while scanning the Genealogy Trails web address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/jasper/towns.html had this listing from 1884 for what I believe is the original Willow Hill:
“New Liberty – (Post office Willow Hill), in Willow Hill Township, was laid out August, 1854, and is seven and one-half miles due east of Newton, and is next in size to Saint Marie. It is a lively town, as in the last eighteen months the S., E. & S.E.R.R. and D., O. & O. R.R.R. have been built through the township, cross each other at the north edge of the town, which has given it new life. The town now has three stores keeping a good general stock of merchandise, one drug store, one grocery store, one hardware store, three restaurants, two blacksmith shops, three grain and flour dealers, one stock and grain dealer, two farming implement dealers, one butcher, one shoe maker, one milliner, one hotel, one good flouring mill, one carpenter and undertaker, one house carpenter, one police magistrate, two justices of the peace, a post-office, two depots and express offices, three physicians, and three hundred inhabitants, two churches, and one nice two-story brick schoolhouse. The town has doubled its inhabitants in two years, and they say all they want now is room, and to be let alone and where will they be in two years more?”
So we know that Willow Hill had a school in town in 1884. We believe that high school classes were offered there by the late 1800s. Willow Hill School class photos can be viewed at: http://genealogytrails.com/ill/jasper/schoolpix4.html#willowhill
We believe that Willow Hill High School existed at least into the late 1940s, possibly a while longer. At sopme point Willow Hill residents agreed to close their high school and send the children to nearby Newton to continue their education. Willow Hill is still host to an elementary school for the Newton school district.
There was recently a reunion for the Willow High School alumni
http://www.robdailynews.com/main.asp?SectionID=3&TM=57827.35. The fate of the original Willow Hill High School is being sought.
Willow Hill High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year closed: late 1940s?
Consolidated to: Newton High School
Willow Hill HS team nickname: unavailable
Willow Hill HS team colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable