The History of Decatur Lakeview High School
Decatur (population 81,860) is Illinois’ eleventh largest city. The city is named after Stephen Decatur, naval war hero of the War of 1812. It is located in central Illinois about 30 miles east of Springfield. It is the county seat of Macon County and is located in the center of the county. Decatur is nicknamed “The Pride of the Prairie” and has its own airport. Milikin University and Richland Community College claim Decatur as their home. According to www.mapquest.com the following roadways lead to and from Decatur; Interstate Highway 72, U.S. Routes 51 and 36, Illinois Routes 48, 105, and 121. The following waterways flow into Decatur; the Sangamon River, Finley Creek, Big Creek, Long Creek, Stevens Creek, Spring Creek, and Sand Creek. The following railroads also own tracks that are laid through the town of Decatur; Illinois Central Gulf, Norfolk & Western, Baltimore & Ohio, I.t., and I.c.. The city also has a nice lake in Lake Decatur.
Decatur was founded in the early to mid 1800s. It is believed the school system was started at the same time. Some history information was provided to us by Buena (Hall) Kaylor (Class of 1968)”
“Lakeview….was an independent school district which included Lakeview (Jr & Sr High were in one building) Brush College # 1 and #2, Excelsor South, Eldorado and Spencer Elementary Schools. Lakeview School District was “absorbed” into the Decatur School District in the late 50’s or early 60’s. (One of the first things Decatur did was take away one of our scoreboards and the printing press used to print the school paper “The Echo.)
Lakeview was not closed due to falling numbers in the area. The Decatur school district appointed a committee to decide which school was to be closed. The committee met for over a year and recommended that Eisenhower School be closed. (No room to expand, the football field could not be used for games due to it’s location (next to St. Mary’s Hospital). Football games were held at John’s Hill.) And remember, Lakeview had just been rebuilt due to the explosion! Lakeview was closed because ADM wanted to purchase it for an office building…pure and simple.”
One interesting story relayed to us by alumnus Ron Lanham was regarding the 1974-75 school year. A tanker car exploded (See photo to your right) and leveled the new school addition to the Lakeview High School building. The Lakeview building was rendered unusable until it was repaired. The Lakeview kids attended classes in Stephen Decatur High School in the afternoon while the Stephen Decatur kids attended in the morning. The football team at Lakeview had their lockerroom at the Decatur Armory building with practices held in the morning.
The former Lakeview High School building was bought by a private company called Archer Daniels Midland Co. A nice article regarding the use of Lakeview HS can be read at http://www.herald-review.com/articles/2005/08/13/news/local_news/1009475.txt.
Decatur Lakeview High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1950
Year closed: 1982
School nickname: the “Spartans”
School colors: Green, Gold, & White
School Fight Song: (See Below)
LHS Class of 1974 alum Joe Caputo tells us that Lakeview High School utilized two different fight songs during its existence. Joe provided us with the words and years that each song was used. Thank you Joe!
School Song from 1949-1962:
We’re loyal to old Lakeview’s green and white
Yea, Lakeview, let us get right in and win
School Song from 1963-1982:
LHS our hats off to thee,
Watch those Spartans go for that ball,