Have you ever driven through a small town in Illinois and noticed an older, worn down school building sitting silently, where the ringing bell once signified the beginning and end of each school day?
Have you ever listened to your grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles or towns people talk of the great times they had attending high school in your town though now the high school no longer exists? Did they tell of how the school building in your town was once the center of the community?The following exerpt was written by a small town product of Mineral High School, Mineral, Illinois. Francis Immesoete (Mineral High School, Class of 1924) wrote this in 1974, the year it was announced the Mineral School would be closed for good, never to hold classes for school children again. I think you will find his sentiments can be echoed throughout nearly every small town in Illinois:
“(Our) High School existed a bare forty years. It was surely not a long time. A poet might say a mere blink of an eye in eternity. True, yet it is a long time in anyone’s life. During that time (our school) was the very real center of community life: the farmer’s institutes, the ball games, the meetings for almost any purpose, voting days, and the thousand and one things on which people must meet and agree. It was truly the center of the town and it filled a very large part of our daily lives and in our hearts. Gone are the happy shouts of children at play, the hum of the daily classes and the clang of bells to and from class. The feverish din of ball games and the whisper of young people finding romance for the first time are all gone now, never to return, just like the carefree days of our youth.
So now the old building sits there alone and seemingly forlorn. But not really, for it still fills a large piece of our hearts. It seems to be true that the smaller the school, the fiercer the loyalty. I pray that some of the things I was taught there still cling to me today.” This is the basis of this web site. Help us document the past before there are no longer people around who experienced it to tell of the great stories and, in particular, the great athletic teams that once graced the courts and fields of yesteryear. We are hopeful there are thousands of “homers” like ourselves who feel they, too, grew up in the “best small town in Illinois”.