The History of Cooksville High School
Cooksville (population 213) is located in eastern Illinois in the middle-eastern portion
of McLean County. Illinois Route 165 is the main road through town and crosses County Road N2850 East at Cooksville.
A branch of the Mackinaw River flows just east of Cooksville and the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad runs through the middle
of town. For location sake, Cooksville sits about 10 miles east and a little north of Bloomington.
Cooksville was founded in 1882, named for F. W. Koch (pronounced "Cook"), who owned the land that the village
was platted upon when the Illinois Central Gulf decided to lay down tracks. Settlers had been coming to this fertile area
of farm land east of Bloomington as early as 1854 and started a school two years later.
The first high school education that Cooksville offered began in 1897 as a two-year school in the same
building that the grade school had been located only four years prior, and which later became a four-year school in 1920.
A fire destroyed the building that housed both the grade and high school in March 1923, which resulted in
a newer building being erected shortly thereafter, ready for use for the 1923-24 school year.
The school served the town proudly for about five decades. It was in the late 1940's that the
towns of Cooksville, Colfax, and Anchor began consolidation talks. These talks were finalized with the creation of the Octavia School District in the summer of 1949. The high school was located in Colfax, ending the high school history
The former Cooksville High School building was used a grade school after the Octavia School District formed,
but was replaced by a new grade school building in the early 1960s. The Cooksville High School building was razed in
Cooksville High School alum Helen Smith provided the following information regarding Cooksville
"I was a member of the last graduating class from Cooksville H.S. which was 1949. The first consolidated
year of the towns of Cooksville, Anchor, and Colfax was 1950 and was called Octavia. (The district now includes Saybrook
and Arrowsmith and is known as Ridgeview).
Also, there was a NEW grade school built at Cooksville around 1960--a one story, brick building which
started as six grades and later was reduced to four grades. It was still used as a grade school in 1965 as my daughter
started there. It is still in existence but long an empty building. It contained a business for a short while but
then was deserted. This school had a kitchen and a gymnasium.