The History of Ellis Grove High School
Ellis Grove (population 363) is located in far southwestern Illinois in the northwest portion of Randolph County. Illinois Route 3 is the main roadway that travels to and from Ellis Grove. The Mississippi River flows about 2 miles to the west of town. Ellis Grove is about 10 miles northwest of Chester and approximately 50 miles southeast of East St. Louis. Ellis Grove was established in 1852 and named after George Ellis, an early proprietor and first post master of the town (Place Names of Illinois by Edward Callary).
We learned of Ellis Grove supporting a high school via Illinois State Basketball Tournament scores from the 1930s and 1940s. Ellis Grove High School competed in the annual District Tournament in their area. Unfortunately this is currently the extent of the results of our research regarding Ellis Grove High School.
Based on other research of other communities of similar size we believe that Ellis Grove likely had a high school in place by the late 19-teens to early 1920s. It likely served the community through the late 1940s. We know that today the children of Ellis Grove attend high school in Chester (according to the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org).
Ellis Grove High School Quick Facts
Year Opened: late 19-teens/early 1920s (?)
Year Closed: late 1940s (?)
Consolidated to: Chester High School
Team Nickname: Needed
Team Colors: Needed
School Fight Song: Needed
McNabb High School
The History of McNabb High School
McNabb (population 285) is located in north central Illinois. McNabb is situated in the east-central portion of Putnam County. Illinois Route 89 takes you along the east side of town. County Road 500, also known as McNabb Blacktop Road, travels through the center of town. Illinois Route 18 passes by about 3 miles south of McNabb. McNabb is located about 10 miles south of Spring Valley and 19 miles southwest of LaSalle.
The Geneology Trails web address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/putnam/village/mcnabb.html provides the following information regarding McNabb’s origin. The information comes from a book titled The Past and Present of Marshall and Bureau Counties, 1907, Page 81.
“The coming of the I, I. & I. Railroad in 1900 brought to the county an additional village. In Magnolia township one of the principal local promoters of this road was Hon. J. M. McNabb, at that time county judge. The railroad company felt that it was to its interest to establish a station somewhere in Magnolia township, so they bought Judge McNabb’s farm at the highest price that was ever paid for land in the county, and laid out a little town which they rightly named McNabb.
Its development has not been up to expectations, but what the future holds for it we may not yet discover. It is already a social and business center for the community. It has two or three good stores, two elevators, a lumber yard and a hotel. It also has two rural mail routes emanating from its office. A banking house under the name of the “Farmers’ Bank of McNabb” is managed by Judge McNabb, cashier and one of the proprietors. There is a thriving Danish church in the village, and a new school building to two stories and two teachers. The Toluca, Marquette & Northern Railroad also runs through the town.
McNabb can boast of one feature that no other town in the county possesses. They have a regular sale stable where public sales of fancy and blooded stock take place. They have a commodious hall in which social and literary entertainments are held. Taking all in all, the village has made an interesting social center.”
We have very little information regarding the the school system in McNabb. We know that in 1907 there was a two-story school building in town, likely for grades 1 – 8. We were told in speaking with a local citizen that McNabb school once offered a two-year course of high school study as well. Our source’s father attended the two-year high school in McNabb and then had the choice of continuing his education in either Granville or Swaney high schools.
If you have any further information to add regarding McNabb High School please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aledo High School
The History of Aledo High School
Aledo (population 3,613) is located in upper-western Illinois in the center of Mercer County and has served as the county seat since 1857. Aledo is situated at the intersection of Illinois Route 17 and Illinois Route 94. The Mississippi River flows about 12 miles west of Aledo. Country singing superstar Suzy Bogguss calls Aledo her hometown.
We know that Aledo was chartered as an official Illinois town in 1855. It served as the home of Aledo Academy, Roosevelt Military Academy (1924-73), and William and Vashti College (1908-1917). The history of the town and its educatonal system is in need of research. The town’s official website can be viewed at http://www.aledo-il.org/index.php .
We are certain that Aledo residents began offering educational opportunities to their children in the mid 1800s. Aledo High School was established during the later years of the Aledo Academy, and in turn contributed to the latter school’s demise. In Eric Long’s research of the Academy, “… the Aledo Academy did its duty as a fine school until the Aledo High School became an academically stronger institution.” This took placed during the late 1880s to early 1890s. Aledo High School served the community through 2009. It was in 2008 and 2009 that Aledo residents and residents whose children attended nearby Joy Westmer High School began researching a possibility of consolidating their efforts. This decision was agreed upon by both sides and finalized in 2008.
The 2008-09 school year would be the final one for the school known as the Aledo High School “Green Dragons”. Beginning with the 2009-10 school year, Aledo High School became known as the Mercer County High School “Golden Eagles”. Mercer County High School will hold classes in Aledo at the former Aledo High School building.
Aledo High School Quick Facts
Year opened: Late 1880s-Early 1890s
Year consolidated: 2009
Consolidated with: Westmer High School
Consolidated to: Mercer County High School
Aledo HS nickname: the “Green Dragons”
Uniform colors: Hunter Green, Black, & White
School Fight Song: “GO YOU ALEDO”
Northwestern University Fight Song Tune
Lyrics and information provided by MICHAEL REICK
Go you Aledo,
Fight right through that line!
With your colors flying,
We will cheer you all the time!
Rah Rah Rah!!
Go you Aledo,
Fight for victory!
Spread out the fame,
Of our fair name,
And go you Aledo
Win that game!!
Hit ’em high!
Hit ’em low!
GO YOU ALEDO GO!!
Elliott High School “Wolves”
The History of Elliott High School
Elliott (population 295) is located in east central Illinois in the south central portion of Ford County. Illinois Route 9 is the main roadway to and from Elliott as it passes by the small village to the south. County Road N. 1000 E, also known as County Highway 4, travels through the heart of Elliott from the north to south. Elliott is located about 5 miles due east of Gibson City and about 25 miles due north of Champaign.
Elliott is named after the primary donor of the land the town is located on, Samuel Elliott. The village was established in 1865. A railroad depot was constructed in 1872 and the village at that time was filled various businesses and was very self-supporting.
The businesses in Elliott included a school house. The first school in Elliott was a two-room frame structure for grades 1 – 8. According to a newspaper article submitted by Elliott school offered two years of high school with the first graduation for the school taking place in 1898. The Elliott school building burnt to the ground in 1912 and was soon replaced by a new, brick school building in 1922. It is unknown when the high school courses offered at Elliott were discontinued, however it is known that kids who wanted full 4-year high school education would have to continue at Gibson City High School upon leaving the Elliott school. It is only known that the school offered classes for grades 1 – 8 as Elliott School District #94. Additions were made to the original portion of the school in 1948 which included a gymnasium.
The Elliott school district was supported on its own through the 1953-54 school year. The Elliott School District consolidated with the Gibson City School District in the summer of 1954. Grade school classes continued at the Elliott school through 1964. From 1964 through 1982 the school building was utilized as the Ford / Iroquois County Special Education Association. This arrangement was discontinued in 1982 and the school building and grounds were remanded to the village of Elliott. The building served many purposes for the village until its use was eventually discontinued. The Elliott school building was demolished in 1998.
Elliott High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1897(?)
First Graduation Ceremony: 1898
Year Closed: (?)
Consolidated to: Gibson City High School
School Team Nickname: “Wolves” (Grade School)
School Team Colors:
School Fight Song:
Decatur Lakeview High School “Spartans”
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,
Chicago Best Practice High School “Panthers”
|The History of Chicago Best Practice High School
Chicago (population 2.7 million) is in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, along with the Chicago and Des Plaines rivers, are the main waterways to and from the city. Interstates 55, 57, 90, & 94 will all lead you to the “Windy City,” as will numerous state and U.S. highways. From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s along the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world, as the result of an ethnically diverse community that adopted the city.
Best Practices High School was formed from a belief by Marilyn Bizar on more efficient and effective ways to get the most for children who attend high school. Ms. Bizar even worte a book titled “Rethinking High School: Best Practice in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership”. Best Practice High School was opened in the fall of 1995. The school was locared on the Chicago’s west side at 2040 W. Adams Street.
Best Practice High School served the are proudly for the next 15 years. Budget restraints in the Chicago Public School system led to the decision to “phase this school out” in 2010. By December of 2011 there were no longer students attending classes at Best Practice High School. The students who attended Best Practice High School were relocted to other high schools in the neighborhood.
The following internet links provide further information regarding Best Practice High School.
http://www.wbez.org/story/cps-names-schools-close-phase-out-94471 (Nov 2011)
Chicago Best Practice High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1995
Year closed: 2011
Team nickname: “Panthers”
Uniform colors: Dark Blue & White
School Fight Song: ??
White Heath Academy High School “Indians”
|The History of White Heath Academy High School
White Heath (population 290) is located in the upper southeastern portion of Illinois in the northeastern portion of Piatt County. Interstate Highway 72 runs just north of town and offers an exit ramp that allows you to visit White Heath. The town was originally located on old Route 47 which is now known as East Mead Street. Meridian Road also passes through town. White Heath is located about 15 miles west of Champaign.
According to a Wikipedia article, the town has a plaque which offer some limited history information. The basic statement reads that White Heath is named after two men, one named Mr. White, and the other named Mr. Heath.
The fact that White Heath one offered two years of high school curriculum was discovered by Roberta VanBriesen. An article found at the web address of http://libsysdigi.library.illinois.edu/oca/Books2008-06/whiteheathcenten00slsn/whiteheathcenten00slsn_djvu.txt advises the following small tidbits about White Heath High School:
“July 15, 1893 – On July 12 work began on the new White Heath School. Many called this The Academy. White Heath got two years of high school.
– After the Academy was built in 1893. The class includes grades 3 though 10. No doubt their two year high school reached its zenith under the leadership of Mr. Alfred Ewington.”
We know that White Heath High School offered a two year course of study beginning in 1893. Another portion of the article discusses a school reunion formed in 1903, so the school was still going strong after 10 years. This is the extent of information we currently have.
Our best guess is that White Heath High School lasted through the 1930s, possibly into the 1940s. We know that the children of White Heath today attend high school in nearby Monticello. We also know that White Heath continues to support a grade school for grades 2 and 3 for the Monticello School District. Another article located on the internet stated that when WHite Heath did support a grades 1 – 8 school the team mascot was the “Indians”.
White Heath High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1893
Year closed: 1930s/1940s (?)
Consolidated to: Monticello High School
Team nickname: “Indians” (?)
Team colors: ??
School Fight Song: ??
Evansville High School
The History of Evansville High School
Evansville (population 701) is located in far southwestern Illinois in the west central portion of Randolph County. Illinois State Route 3 is the main roadway that leads you to Evansville and passes by the western edge of town. Schuline Road and Nathan Road also lead to Evansville. The town is located along the banks of the Kaskaskia River and is located about 45 miles south and a little east of East St. Louis.
Evansville was officially established in 1834 by a businessman named Caldwell Evans. A post office was established there in 1849.
Evansville at one time supported a 2-year high school. We found basketball scores involving Evanston High School as far back as 1932. We have also observed a high school class photo from Evansville High School taken in the early 1920s. It is likely the school offered high school courses beginning in the early 1900s. It is probable that the high school was discontinued in the late 1940s as most 2-year high schools were forced to close at that time.
Evansville continues to support a Lutheran high school and a public grade school. The original school building that once housed 1st grade through 10th grade has been razed. High school-aged students of Evansville now attend Sparta High School 12 miles to the east. Any further information regarding the history of Evansville High School is welcome (email@example.com).
Evansville High School Quick Facts
Year opened: Early 1920s, possibly earlier.
Year closed: Mid to late 1940s
Students Now Attend: Sparta High School
School Team Nickname: Eagles
School Team Colors:
School Fight Song:
Chicago St. Mary
The History of Chicago St. Mary’s High School
Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers are the main waterways to and from town. Interstates 90, 94, 55, and 57 will all lead you to the “Windy City,” as will numerous rail services and highways with federal and state designations. From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world.
St. Mary High School was opened as a all-girls school in 1899 on the near West Side, located near the site of the present-day University of Illinois Medical Center and the Eisenhower Expressway (I-90). Five members of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) were in charge of the school, as 72 girls were enrolled in a rented three-story building at the corner of Taylor & Cypress Streets when the school opened on September 5th, 1899.
A new facility was opened in 1900 on West Grenshaw Street, with wings added in 1903, 1911, & 1924. St. Mary claimed to be the first central Catholic girls’ high school in the US, and was ranked as the largest girls’ Catholic high school for more than a decade. In 1925, there were 600 girls were enrolled, which represented 47 parishes. St. Mary also had a commercial department that began in 1902 as 33 students graduated in the first class in 1903 along with the first class of 18 academic students.
The school continued to educate young ladies well into the 1970’s when a number of changes that had been taking place for some time led to its eventual closing. The Congress Expressway (now known as the Eisenhower Expressway) was built in the ‘50s just north of the school and took away a good amount of houses that were homes to possible students, as did the expansion of the Illinois Medical Center nearby. Also adding to the downfall was a shift in ethnic groups that moved away, replaced by other groups. Through it all, the school kept focus on uniting religion and culture to its students while making secondary education accessible.
St. Mary was also receiving inadequate funding from the Archdiocese of Chicago to address financial needs, including building repairs. The school changed hands from the Sisters of Charity to a private corporation in 1973, which also allowed boys to enroll for the first time in school history. During that time, the school was also referred as the St. Mary Learning Center or St. Mary Center for Learning, and lent itself to be an alternative to the changing needs and population of Chicago’s youth.
However, the enrollment continued to slide dramatically from that point. From having 532 students in 1972-73, the numbers dropped to 420, 200, and 150 in the last three years of the school’s operation. The high point of enrollment in St. Mary history was at 850 in 1966-67.
Following the 1975-76 school year, St. Mary closed its doors as the building was sold to the Illinois Medical Center for expansion purposes in 1977, and razed in the same year.
Westchester St. Joseph High School “Chargers”
|The History of Westchester St. Joseph Catholic High School
Westchester (population 16,718) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the middle-western portion of Cook County. U.S. Route 12/45 (Mannheim Road) passes through Westchester and connects it to Interstate Highway 290 (Eisenhower Expressway) which passes by the north side of town. Illinois Route 38 (Roosevelt Road) also passes through Westchester. The town is located 15 miles due west of downtown Chicago. It was established in 1924 and named after Chester, England.
St. Joseph High School was established in 1960 by the De La Salle Christian Brothers. It was located at 10900 W. Cermak Road. The school functioned as a boys only school from 1960 through 2005. That year the nearby, all-girls catholic high school, Immaculate Heart of Mary, also located in Westchester, was closed. The school merged with St. Joseph. The name and mascot for St. Joseph High School remained the same however all school functions were moved to the Immaculate Heart of Mary school building and facilities.
St. Joseph continued as a co-educational catholic high school from 2005 through 2021. That spring it was decided due to financial concerns and declining enrollment that St. Joseph High School would be closed. The original St. Joseph High School building and facilities have remained empty but maintained since 2005.
St. Joseph Catholic High School Quick Facts
Year Opened: 1960
Year Became co-ed: 2005
Year Closed: 2021
School Team Mascot: “Chargers”
School Team Colors: Red, Black, & White
School Fight Song: Charger Fight Song
Oh, when the Saint Joe Chargers meet their foes,
You can be sure that they will greet their foes,
In every game they’ll rise above the rest
For as we know the Chargers are the very best.
So now let’s cheer them on and they’ll know that we,
Our team won’t let us down, they’ll take the crown,
So go Chargers GOOOOO!