The History of the Cordova High School Panthers
Cordova is located in northwestern Illinois right on the Mighty Mississippi River. The bulk of
the town is located between Il. Rt. 84 and the River itself, approximately 15 miles north of East Moline (the Quad Cities).
The town's population is a peaceful 633 residents.
According to our good fan and great supporter of Cordova High Susan Morthland Mikles, the
origin of the high school traces its roots back to 1887 when the high school curriculum was established. A booklet titled
"Cordova High School: The Spirit Survives!" written in 2000 showed the spirit of the Cordova "kids" lives on to this
day. The booklet as well as research by Susan Milkes provided the following information on Cordova High School:
"The school began in 1887 and the last class graduated in 1955 after which there was a consolidation
of several area schools that became Riverdale Unit #100 based in Port Byron, Illinois.
The original Cordova High School was held in a two-story stone building that was used as both a grade
school and high school. This building contained four rooms. The site of the demolished building in 2006
was this same site of the original school however the building that existed there in 2006 was not the original.
In 1920 the building's upper floors were declared unsafe and classes were moved to the Methodist Church
in Cordova. That same year financing for a new high school building was approved. Construction began on a new
building in October of 1921 and was completed in August of 1922. The building remained as the Cordova High School building
until the school's closing in 1955.
At some point, at the site of the original building, a new school was erected and used as a grade school.
I am usure of the actual date of this construction but this building continued to be used through the consolidation
of 1955. Its usefulness lasted through the 1970s when it was closed due to new construction at what is now known
as the Riverdale Elementary Building.
This grade schol building was purchased and used as a restaurant known as the "Cordova Landing" for many
years. The building was eventual sold and sat empty for several years. The Village of Cordova eventually took
possession of the building and had it torn down early this past spring (2006).
When the Cordova High School building used from 1922 through 1955 was closed, it never again was used in
any capacity. This once grand building, full of life, was eventually torn down in the late 1960s. The property
on which this building sat was turned into a housing addition." (Special thanks to Susan Mikles for this report)
Cordova High School Quick Facts
Year school opened: 1887
Year school closed: 1955
Year demolished: late 1960s
Consolidated to: Riverdale
High School (Port Byron)
School colors: Blue
School nickname: the "Panthers"
School fight song: "On Cordova"
Sung to "On Wisconsin"
On Cordova, On Cordova,
On to Victory.
Keep the good old school before you
We will win this game!
RAH RAH RAH!!
On Cordova, On Cordova
Fight on for your fame.
Fight Fellows, FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT
We'll win this game!
Through research completed on other towns, it is known that Cordova HS competed in the old Two Rivers
Conference during the 1940s and 1950s. Member schools included Port Byron, Hillsdale, Erie, Prophetstown, Lyndon, Atkinson, Annawan, Tampico, and Mineral. Cordova High School offered basketball, track, and baseball. The only IHSA hardware brought home was by
the boy's basketball team. Their success is listed below.
District Champions Coach's name unavailable
Notable Roundball Athlete
Jack Guinn - Was a member of the Two Rivers All-Conference team for the 1952-53 season.
Unique Town Name
A fan of the Glory Days site named Jeff gave this explanation of how Cordova got its unusual
"Cordova was named after a Scandinavian who worked on the river in the 1800's loading "Cords" of wood for
the passing steam ships. The Scandinavian could only count to 10, so when a passing ship stopped to purchase more than
10 cords of wood the Scandinavian would announce, say for 14 cords of wood, "4 cord ova 10". Thats truely how Cordova
got it's name."
In Need of Your Assistance
As stated before, we are in dire need of assistance in researching Cordova High School. What
was it used for after it closed as a high school? What were the school colors and team nickname? We are hopeful
someone from Cordova (or a neighboring town) can provide us with this information and possibly a photo of the old high
If you have this information to share please complete a School Submission Form or write us via
e-mail at:email@example.com or via real mail at
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631