The History of Garden Plain High School
Garden Plain (sometimes historically referred to as "Garden Plain Corners") is
located in Whiteside County in Northwest Illinois. The small, unincorporated town of about 100 residents is accessible by
an east-west county artery road (Garden Plain Road) by either U.S. Route 30 from Morrison or Illinois Route 84 near Albany.
Sand Road is the main north-south road through town. For many years, the Illinois Grand Trunk Railroad (and later the Chicago,
Burlington & Quincy) ran a short line through the northeast corner of town. This line was removed by the 1960s.
Like many small
communities which dotted the Whiteside County landscape, Garden Plain once had its own school system. After early buildings
were used, a 2-story structure on the north-south street was constructed in 1907. This building (pictured above) was used
in an educational capacity until a 1952 consolidation of Garden Plain Township country schools was voted upon.
From 1952 until the early 1980s, students attended the
Garden Plain consolidated school building located on the east-west street. The school bell from the 1907 building was later
removed and is currently displayed in front of the newer building. The independent school system ceased in the 1960s, when
it became part of the River Bend School district, based in Fulton.
The 1907 building has been converted into a private residence, while the 1952 building is in use as
the Garden Plain Township Building.
attending school in Garden Plain went as least as far as the 8th grade, however, there is possible evidence that the school
system offered a high school curriculum. The following excerpt comes from a brief overview of Garden Plain in a history
book about Albany titled "Trailways to Albany 2000" by Helen M. Hanson, a town historian and a newspaper writer for the
Clinton (Ia.) Herald:
"The first school at Garden Plain Corners burned,
and it was replaced with a two-story structure in 1869. It provided a high school education for many years, as well as elementary
education. Just when the high school classes were discontinued is not known."
It is likely that the high school curriculum did not exceed 3 years, as students were
sent to Fulton, or perhaps Albany, to complete additional high school courses.
Many popular county histories do not mention an extensive history of the school
system, and perhaps there is hope that letters of correspondence and/or written personal essays can shed more light on
the history of the school system - and in particular those of high school days.
Garden Plain School Quick Facts
Year school started: 1860s
Year HS opened/closed: unknown
Township consolidation: 1952
Closed for good: 1980s
Consolidated to: Fulton
River Bend School District