Dave Nanninga, Site Creator

John and Dave Nanninga, Illinois State Historical Society annual awards ceremony in 2022

I was raised in Mineral, Illinois, a school on this site.  I was born in 1962, the year after Mineral High School was deactivated.  I did attend the school for grades 3 – 5 as part of the Annawan School District.  I grew up listening to my grandmother, Ula Morey, and my uncles Ben and Ed Morey as well as my mother Nancy Nanninga, talk fondly of their great memories of Mineral High.  I was proud even at the young age of attending grade school in the former Mineral High School building where the trophy cases remained filled with exhibits from the many athletic accomplishments attained by the kids who attended there.  I remember stopping occasionally to read the inscriptions on the trophies and imagine what it would have been like to play for my hometown Mineral High School Leopards.  Sadly it was decided in 1973 that a new grade school building would be erected in nearby Annawan. The Mineral School building would serve no more as an educational facility.

In May of 1974 the Mineral school building closed for good, taking with it not only the prideful feelings of those who attended there, but also a measure of town pride and heart from Mineral. This was a very hard and heartwrenching experience for the alumni and townspeople who had worked so hard to make the school successful for so many years.  For several years after the school was closed and the doors locked, I remember each day how the bell would still ring, set by a timer as it had been for so many years.

In the year 2004, I completed research which culminated in the induction of all six Mineral High School District Championship basketball teams into the Bureau County Sports Hall of Fame.  This ceremony was hosted by Bureau County Republican Newspaper Sports Editor Kevin Hieronymous.  Though Mineral is a town of 275 residents, nearly 450 Leopard fans clad in the school colors of green and white packed the auditorium to cheer on their hometown hero

es. The crowd was gracious and thrilled when 21 of the then 25 living members (16 were deceased) of these teams made their way to the stage.  As an added treat five of the cheerleaders of the era led the crowd in one last rousing rendition of the Mineral Fight Song, “On Ole Mineral”.  What an incredible night to cherish.

This brings me to the reason for this web site.  If Mineral folks responded in this excited manner, why not provide a venue for those of other towns who lost their high schools? In fact why not provide a venue for all alumni who had their school close for one reason or another? Hence the web site was started in February of 2005 and has seemed to gain steam ever since.  The positive feelings and memories it has evoked for several supporters of the site have been priceless to me.

I have no previous experience or training in the process of developing a website. I began the site in January of 2005, never realizing the enormity of this project.  To date (January of 2021) we have added nearly 1,200 closed high schools from Illinois to the Glory Days website.

The Glory Days website has received state-wide attention.  Several interviews on radio as well as several newspaper articles have been completed in support of the site. In addition, several items on high school sports message boards have been written in support as well. The website has entertained visitors from all 50 states in the United States and 20 different countries.

If you come from a town which lost its high school or are an alumnus of a deactivated high school, I hope you take the opportunity to complete a form acknowledging your school.  Personal memories are what made your school important to you and the town.  I am sincerely hopeful you will be willing to share them with others so your school can be remembered for eternity.

Thank you for your support of the Glory Days site!