The History of Nilwood High School
Nilwood (population 284) is located in southwestern Illinois in the northeastern portion
of Macoupin County. Nilwood sits about 25 miles south (and a little west) of Springfield. Illinois Route 4 is the main
roadway to and from Nilwood. County Highway 28 also leads to Nilwood. The Southern Pacific Railroad line passes through the
heart of town.
A nice history of the town of Nilwood can be read at the web address of
Nilwood was incorporated in 1867. The population at that time was about 700. The town was named by the railroad
engineers who first traveled through the area. There were very few trees from which to gain needed wood for the
steam engine boiler, so the saying "nil wood" meant "no wood". The name eventually stuck. Like many small towns
of the late 1800s, prosperity lasted through the early 1930s. A population of about 500 was enjoyed then. Since that
time most businesses and residents have left, leaving the town holding steady at its current population.
Schooling for children of Nilwood began shortly after the area was settled.A frame schoolhouse was built
in 1869. By 1880 a brick school building had been built. By the early 1900s a high school was established along with the grade
school. Quoting directly from the article:
"In the early part of the twentieth century, Nilwood
had the coal mine, bank, post office, 3 or 4 general/grocery stores, tavern, grain elevator, blacksmith shop (maybe two blacksmith shops), a high school and grade school, and, when gasoline cars came
along, Nilwood boasted more than five filling (gasoline) stations."
This is the extent of the information we have regarding Nilwood High School. Our guess is that Nilwood
High School existed through at least the mid 1940s. We believe the school was consolidated into the Virden School District to the north. We know the kids of Nilwood today attend North Mac High School in Virden.
Nilwood High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late
1800s / early 1900s
Consolidated to: Virden High School
Nilwood HS nickname: unavailable
Nilwood HS colors: unavailable
NHS Fight Song: unavailable