The following people are responsible for bringing forth the incredible amount of information made available for this
web site. Many hours of time and travel have been spent to hopefully make this site entertaining and informative.
Most importantly, we hope to provide an opportunity to document memories and facts of schools and the towns
which supported them.
Dave Nanninga - Site Creator
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 occassionally 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 heroes. 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 was told
about the ease of developing a website through the use of a web server called Tripod (www.tripod.com). I began the site in January of 2005, never realizing the enormity of this project. To date (January of
2012) we have added over 1,100 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!
|Beau Spencer - IF he grew up in the 70s
I graduated from Annawan High School in 2000. I work in radio in Macomb, Illinois where I have been employed
with Prairie Radio Communications (K100, 104.7 WLMD, AM1510 WLRB) for 2 1/2 years. My career in the radio biz began in
2001 at WGEN-AM in Geneseo, IL and the former WHHK "The Hawk" in Galva. I currently serve as Sports Director for the
3 radio stations in Macomb as well as WKXQ in Rushville, IL. In addition, I am co-host of the K100 morning show.
2005 was a big year for my career as my station won small market radio station of the year (K100), as well as winning best
local morning show, and firsts for a community event in which I "Freeze For Food", and a broadcast of the local National Guard
troops leaving town for Iraq. I also serve as a sports correspondent for local newspapers in Macomb. I
began work with the Glory Days website after meeting Dave on the PJStar Message Boards and brainstormed ideas in getting something
started. I am more of the "legman" with my poor computer skills (haha!). I really enjoy spending time
on the highways of Illinois tripping onto small towns and getting that great shot of a dilapidated high school (which is truly
saddening in some cases). I am truly looking forward to learning more about the history of these and future schools added
to this site!
|Cody Cutter - Sterling H.S. football manager
Even though I was born after most of the schools on this site were deactivated, I get told by my peers that my knowledge
of the high school scene, present and especially past, is second to none, but I don't like to claim that. I am originally
from Rock Falls, and moved across the Rock River to Sterling, graduating from Sterling H.S. in 2005 while being a part
of one of the classic high school rivalries, that of Sterling and Rock Falls High Schools, on both sides of the spectrum.
My love for the high school glory days came about while researching some of the high schools in my area. I was enthralled
about the 1950-51 Hillsdale High School Boys Basketball team (see Hillsdale High School on this site) being the only athletic
team in school history to win IHSA hardware. I wonder where that District Championship plaque is located today?? Upon a visit
to Tampico High School (also see Tampico High School on this site) I stumbled upon the Trojans' football field and
track oval and could feel an experience of what it was like to come from a smaller school and represent the community well
in their athletic endevors. Mind you, this is coming from an alum of Sterling High School, a much bigger school than
After working with Prep Sports Online and the Sterling Daily Gazette/Dixon Telegraph, I started the
Northern Illinois Sports Beat website, which covered high school sports in Northern Illinois. After 10 years of operating
that website, I rejoined the Gazette/Telegraph in 2014. I joined this website shortly after it's creation and am excited
to be learning more about everything. I graduated from Sauk Valley Community College with an A.A. in Mass Communication
in 2010. While at Sauk and Highland Community Colleges, I was Sports Editor for the school newspapers and won awards for my
writing (so I guess you can call me an award-winning journalist). I reside in Sterling.
In times where state funding for education is hard to come by, especially here in Illinois, many of the school closures
are unexpected and sometimes wrong - albeit in some cases it's good thing. Unfortunately for most of these schools,
there is not a public record that not only shares statistics, but the personal and memorable moments behind one's time at
their school that is not around anymore. This website was created to share the memories, stories and experiences of one's
most important time of their lives: The years of early adulthood, the Glory Days, of high school in Illinois.
|Kev Varney - Senior Class Photo
|Class of 1980 - Ottawa Marquette HS
As a former sportswriter and sportscaster, I have developed a passion for researching information for the Illinois High School
Glory Days website. I was a writer with the Ottawa Daily Times
along with reporting for radio stations WCMY/WRKX
in my hometown of Ottawa from 1985-1991. I witnessed the closure of high schools in Marseilles, Mazon-Verona-Kinsman
, and Odell
, along with the deactivation of Cornell
first-hand. The closing of Marseilles
had special meaning to me, since I had gotten to
know a number of people associated with the school and that it was a city of 5,000..... which is unusual since
most of the schools you see on this website have populations that are far less in their home towns.
Later on as sports director of radio station WZRO in Farmer City
in 1994, I had the dubious honor of broadcasting the final boys' basketball game for Wapella High School
. As with any closure, I experienced the feeling of pitting neighbor versus neighbor when the
news came out. Even today, some people in Wapella still wish they had their beloved Wildcats playing in their home gym,
nicknamed "The Thunderdome.
Since that time, I have retired from the radio industry, but continue to keep a close tab on prep sports by following
the action in Central Illinois while maintaining a job as a service representative at an insurance company.
As a history buff, I am aware of other schools that closed their doors for financial considerations and agree that the
stories of these schools should be told in more than just the newspapers and in special features on radio/television, now
that the Internet has become a viable media source. In order to preserve what history there is left,
my feeling is that we need to remember those schools that existed before the consolidations of the late 1940's as
well as those that have closed their doors through this very day.
As a Mineral graduate stated on the home page, the high school was the center of activity of the small towns,
serving as a meeting place for various reasons. I am happy to be involved with the Illinois High School Glory
Days website. I have found a website that has combined two of my favorite topics, history and sports. I
hope that we can tell the story of your high school, as well as your hometown, as accurately and as thoroughly as possible.
|Richard Soseman - Little League All-Star
I am a native of Campbell's Island, Illinois, a small island in the Mississippi River near the Quad Cities.
It never had a grade or high school, as far as I can tell, although the "white man" has been living there off an on for
200 years. I am the product of Catholic Schools: grade (St. Anne '77), high (Alleman '81), college
and graduate school (Marquette U '85 & '87) and seminary (Mt. St. Mary '92). I was drawn to this site by my interest
in history, small towns, and sports. I noticed, also, that a few closed Catholic High Schools from Western
Illinois were not yet listed, and so began some contribution. My mother grew up in Henry County, and yes, I also have
relatives in Atkinson, Mineral, Annawan, Kewanee. I lived in Princeville for 10 years and was pastor of the Catholic
Church there. My Peoria office for almost 15 years was located in the former Convent of the Academy of Our Lady, which
closed in 1988. I enjoy following the Princeville Lincoln Trail games against schools I have known my entire life.
In January, 2008 I was appointed to the Vatican, so will follow Illinois sports, as well as help with these pages, from some
The small town schools which have closed over the years, public and private, represent the people
of a certain time and place. Each month passing takes us farther from those people. It is
vital that we keep some record, and this site does an admirable job at keeping that memory alive.
History, photography and writing have always been interests of mine, so I enjoy hanging
out around here. I am fascinated by the architectural features of some of the closed buildings, and what they
tell us about the people who built the structures. Seeing the decrepit high school at miniscule LaRose,
photographing the gymnasium at Rutland, seeing how quickly a grand high school building can fall apart at Newman, finding
out about "terrible" ball club at Andover have been fascinating, and this enthusiasm is hopefully
transmitted to those who visit the website.
That enthusiasm for a forgotten high school truly exists, in the heart of an alum, in the spirit
of a student of history, in a fan of the glory of sports. I've seen it a few times when I have talked
about the site. Friends and family have shared memories. A few times they have broken into a
long neglected fight song, eyes glowing with appreciation of a now discontinued alma mater.
|Phil & Betty Shadid
|Glory Days Site Author & His Wife
I was born and raised in Springfield, IL, attended McClernand Public Grade School, St. Joseph's
Catholic Grade School, and Lanphier High School. I come from a family of 11 (I'm the youngest). I carried a newspaper
route in downtown Springfield for several years, worked in my brothers' book store, and then had a 33-year career with the
Springfield Post Office. Also worked at a local mailing service company for 11 years.
My beloved wife and best friend Betty passed away in February 2014.
We had a
great life together sharing love of children, grandchildren and
great-grandchildren. She enjoyed cooking and baking (well known for vegetable soup, "Ra-ta-2-E"
and pies). The first thing she cooked for me was vegetable soup. We got married
She was an avid reader, gardener, traveler and sometimes
casino winner. Her maiden name was Betty Jean Ralph, born and raised in the
north end of Springfield, baptized at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, where she
was a member her entire life. Graduated from St. Joseph's Grade School and
Glory Days member Springfield Ursuline Academy. Was a nurse for 28 years. She
was pleased that I wrote the story of her Alma Mater, and always encouraged me
to research the old schools and to not give up my hobby in the future.
I'm proud to say that my research produced entries into the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame
for the 1941 Feitshans High School basketball team and the 1937 St. James Trade School football team. Another proud moment was when Homer "Buster" Bartholomew, legendary coach/teacher/principal of the early 20th Century was inducted into the Chatham Glenwood Hall of Fame in 2010.
I've always been interested in history (my best subject in school; to the detriment of other subjects!). Through
research and visits with various people I've made several new friends who were happy to share their memories of their old
schools. That's why I enjoy the Glory Days so much.
|SVHS Class of 1966
I grew up across the street from the Stillman Valley High School. The original building was built in 1927,
when my dad was a sophomore. As a child I enjoyed sitting on the front porch watching the high schoolers. This
was before the days of the school cafeteria, so the kids would, in good weather, eat their sack lunches on the grounds, and
then pair off, or as a group walk up the street in front of my house. I admired the girls saddle shoes with rolled Bobby
sox, the popular draw string purses and cardigan sweater sets. Being a farming community, many of the guys wore the
blue FFA jackets. I couldn't wait to be in high school. (these "kids" are in their 70's now)
In the 1940's
Stillman had absorbed some of the students when the Kishwaukee and Kings High Schools closed. They also accepted the high school students of Davis Junction, part of Holcomb Grade, Lindenwood Grade, Kishwaukee Grade, Kings Grade, and Paynes Point, a one room school in a tiny
community closed about 1958.
I remember watching the first athletic field being built. Football was new in town.
The one room schools were closing and being auctioned. My dad and I attended many of these auctions. He
was a local history enthusiast with a new camera. Luckily he took photos of many of them. Our 1879 grade
school, with two grades to a room was bursting at the seams, so an addition with 4 more classrooms and a basement cafeteria
was built in 1954. Kindergarten, which lasted only a few weeks in the spring, was moved from the church basement to
the school basement. I was in that first class.
The cafeteria was a wonderful thing. It not only provided
a nutritious hot lunch with milk to the students, it became a community meeting place. It was a place for the newly
formed Lions Club to meet, many fund raising dinners were held there, in addition to vision and hearing tests, and polio shots.
We watched movies there, and the inaugural of JFK and John Glenn come back.
In the late 50's, Monroe Center HS closed, and they joined the Stillman district. This time it was the high school that was bursting at the seams. A
large addition was built, with a beautiful gym and a multiple level music room. The cafeteria was relocated to the former
gym, and the home ec room featured turquoise St Charles kitchens! I graduated there in 1966.
A new and larger
high school was built in the mid 70's and the former high school building became the Meridian Jr. High. Later, the 1927
building was razed, and a new addition was built.
As I look at the photos on IHSGD, I see many schools much
like mine. I hear the basketball game noise, the bands playing, and see the drivers Ed car go slowly down the street.
Many changes are not made without controversary, but things do change. It was said the Monroe Center
annexation was harder on the parents than the kids. Over the years, the wounds have healed. The fledgling football
program has become a 4A powerhouse team with several state championships. A very large and respected FHA chapter has
faded away, but the FFA program is going strong. Academics have always been a priority. It's a school to be proud
of. Some of the kids even got married!
Luckily, Stillman Valley has grown. It has tripled in population
since the 50's. Sadly, downtown has been hit hard. Most of our retail businesses, including 2 nice grocery stores
have faded away. The bowling alley and drive in are gone. The memories linger tho. I am so glad our school
survived, but I do miss the old days.
I am just a small town girl. I have 4 sons and 1 daughter. Luckily,
several of them are interested in local history, and will sit and listen to me ramble on or stop and turn their car around
so I can take a photo of a tumbledown school building somewhere.
I was a customer service rep at Kable Fufillment in
Mt Morris for 15 years. My particular position allowed me to be on the Internet as long as I did my job. I had been looking for
info on the former schools of Illinois, and one day I saw an article about IHSGD, and it was just what I wanted! I had
time to do research, and loved finding schools. I even had photos to share. The less than 4 year schools
all closed in 1948, that makes their students around 80 years old now. None should be forgotten.