Petersburg High School "Blue Jays"

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Petersburg High School Building 2014
petersburghighschoolbldg2014dav.jpg
Now an Apartment Building

Petersburg Harris High School
petersburghsdav1.jpg

The History of Petersburg High School
 
Petersburg (population 2,299) is located in near west-central Illinois about 15 miles northwest of Springfield.  Illinois Routes 97 and 123 intersect in the town of Petersburg.  The Chicago, Illinois Midland Railroad lays tracks through Petersburg.  The Sangamon River flows through town as well. According to the website address for Menard County, www.menardil.com, Petersburg was named by Peter Lukins in 1836.  Its location on the Sangamon River helped it grow quickly as it soon became, and remains today, the county seat of Menard County.
 
The history of the school system in Petersburg is found at a website with the following web link:  http://www.illinoisancestors.org/menard/school/petehist.html .
It is a very thorough and insightful history of the Petersburg High School district.   We know that Petersburg High School served the community on a solo basis for several decades.  It was in 1960s that the small towns in the Menard County area around Petersburg began talks of consolidation.  The effort between Petersburg, OakfordRock Creek, Tallula, and Atterberry became a reality in 1963.  The result was the formation of the P.O.R.T.A. School District.
 
P.O.R.T.A. High School is located in Petersburg.  The fate of the Petersburg High School building has been updated for us by 1983 PORTA graduate Steven Todd:

Petersburg High School Building 2014
petersburghighschoolbldg22014dav.jpg
Now an Apartment Building

"Shortly after Porta High School building was constructed in late 70's (1977 I believe), the former high school was purchased privately and converted first into a very popular health club and later into an apartment complex which it currently is. Many of us have fond memories watching some great early 1970's basketball teams there including the one that went to state - greats such as the late Kevin
Washington (who still holds state tournament single game rebound record), Billy Gum, Casey Duncheon, and later Mike Atterberry to mention a few."
 
Petersburg High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                            1883 (first graduating class 1887)
Year consolidated:                    1963
Consolidated to:                        P.O.R.T.A. High School (Petersburg)
Petersburg HS team nickname: "Blue Jays"
Petersburg HS team colors:      Blue & White
School Fight Song:                    "Here's To Petersburg"
                                                   Composed by Howard Akers (1938)
                                                           http://www.illinoisancestors.org/menard/school/petehist.html

Here's to Petersburg forever,
May we always be so true.
May our courage never falter,
May we always be loyal to you.
RAH! RAH!
May your memory live forever,
And stand for all that's right,
So let's Fight! Fight! Fight!
With all of our might,
For the honor of the Blue and White
Athletics
 
The Petersburg High School athletic program produced some excellent success on the fields and courts of the area.  Success was obtained in the sports of basketball, baseball, football, and track.  The academic department chipped in as well with great seasons in Speech and Drama (www.ihsa.org).  School team nickname, colors, and fight song are all items we are searching for.
 
Boys Baseball
 
The boys of the baseball diamond had at least one good year as far as the IHSA tournament is concerned, and probably many more that are not listed.  Team records and coach's names of this and other great PHS teams are being sought.
 
1950-51         District Champions              Coach Leonard Greathouse

Boys Basketball
 
The boys basketball program at Petersburg High School won three District titles and some nice season records as well.
 
1930-31               IHSA District Champions           Coach's name & record needed
                            District Scores Needed
                            Springfield Sectional Tourney
                            1st Rd lost to Normal U-High 24-19
                            U-High lost to Springfield in semi-final
                            Springfield lost to Decatur in title game
                            Decatur eventually won State title!
 
1931-32  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1932-33  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
  
1933-34               Petersburg District Tournament   Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Tallula 54-15
                            2nd Rd lost to Havana 28-18
                            Havana beat Kilbourne in title game
 
1934-35               Mason City District Tournament   Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Tallula 35-33 (O/T)
                            2nd Rd lost to Bath 20-18
                            Havana beat Kilbourne in title game
                            Havana beat Athens in title game
     
1935-36               Greenview District Champions
Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Tallula 20-5
                            Semi-final Beat Kilbourne 23-17
                            Title Game Beat San Jose 16-15
                            Havana Regional Tourney
                            1st Rd lost to Athens 32-10
                            Athens beat Havana in title game
    
1936-37               IHSA District Champions          Coach's name & record needed
                            District Scores Needed
                            Mason City Regional Runner-Up
                            1st Rd Beat Delevan 26-25
                            Semi-final Beat Mason City 19-17
                            Title Game lost to Athens 57-20
                            Athens won Sectional, lost in Sweet 16 to Joliet
                            Joliet won state title
  
1937-38  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
  
1938-39               Athens Regional Tournament      Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Mason City 35-30
                            2nd Rd lost to Tallula 37-25
                            Tallula beat Athens in title game
  
1939-40  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
1940-41  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
  
1941-42  14 - 10  Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Lyle Short
                            1st Rd lost to San Jose 23-21
     
1942-43               Petersburg Regional Tourney      Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd lost to Havana 42-41
  
1943-44  Postseason scores, record, and coach's name needed.
 
1944-45               Havana Regional Tournament     Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd lost to Easton 55-29
                            Easton beat Spfld Feitshans in title game
 
1945-46    9 - 14 Petersburg Regional Tourney       Coach Albert Wallo
                            1st Rd lost to Easton 42-28
                            Easton lost to San Jose in title game
 
1946-47  17 - 13 Athens Regional Tourney             Coach Albert Wallo
                           1st Rd lost to Springfield HS 54-28
                           Spfld HS beat Athens in title game
                           Spfld won Sectional, lost in Sweet 16 Rd.
  
1947-48               Havana Regional Tournament      Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Chandlerville 41-27
                            2nd Rd lost to Athens 61-42
                            Athens beat Havana in title game
 
1948-49               Petersburg Regional Tourney       Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Easton 58-49
                            Semi-final lost to Havana 65-50
                            Havana lost to Athens in title game
 
1949-50               Athens Regional Tourney             Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd lost to Easton 44-43
                           
1950-51               Havana Regional Tournament      Coach's name & record needed
                            1st Rd Beat Pleasant Plains 83-63
                            Semi-final lost to Mason City 71-62
                            Mason City beat Easton in title game
  
1951-52   22 - 4  Petersburg Regional Tourney       Coach Leonard Greathouse
                           1st Rd Beat Easton 58-49
                           Semi-final lost to Mason City 102-78
                           Mason City beat Athens in title game
 
1952-53    6 - 23 Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Leonard Greathouse
                            1st Rd lost to Spfld Feitshans 63-46
                            Fietshans lost to Havana in Semi-final
 
1953-54    6 - 18  Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd lost to Athens 61-44
                            Athens lost in semi-final to Mason City
 

1954-55   20 - 8   Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd Beat Mason City 57-51
                            Semi-final lost to Havana 57-48
                            Havana beat Springfield in title game
 
1955-56   15 - 11 Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd Beat Easton 73-66
                            Semi-final lost to Mason City 83-51
                            Mason City beat Havana in title game
 
1956-57   12 - 10 Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd lost to Havana 56-46
                            Spfld Lanphier beat Havana in title game
  
1957-58    9 - 18  Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd lost to Manito Forman 76047
                            Forman lost to Mason City in semi-final
 
1958-59   12 - 13 Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Elmo Hildebrand
                            1st Rd lost to Havana 65-44
                            Havana lost to Mason City in semi-final
 
1959-60   15 - 11 Havana Regional Runner-Up    Coach Richard Garner
                            1st Rd Beat Tallula 48-47
                            Semi-final Beat Havana 67-47
                            Title Game lost to Manito Forman 54-44
  
1960-61   14 - 10 Havana Regional Tourney           Coach Richard Garner
                            1st Rd lost to Manito Forman 83-65
                            Forman lost to Mason City in title game
  
1961-62    6 - 14  Havana Regional Tourney           Coach Richard Garner
                            1st Rd lost to Mason City 64-40
                            Mason City lost to Athens in semi-final
 
1962-63   11 - 12 Havana Regional Tournament     Coach Dick Clark
                            1st Rd Beat Manito Forman 64-40
                            **Semi-final lost to Mason City 51-34
                            Mason City lost to Havana in title game
**Final game as Petersburg High School, became "PORTA" High School in the summer of 1963.

Football
 
1951-52    5 - 0       Coach Leonard Greathouse
1952-53    2 - 3       Coach Leonard Greathouse
1953-56                  Coach Elmo Hildebrand
1956-57    6 - 2      
Coach Elmo Hildebrand
1957-59                  Coach Elmo Hildebrand
 
Boys Track & Field
 
Peterrsburg High School enjoyed its greatest success in the sport of boys track & field.  An athlete by the name of Luther Sampson led the PHS thinclads to an incredible three consecutive TOP-TEN FINISHES in the IHSA State Track Meet!!  Luther Sampson brought home a total of 2 Gold Medals, three Silver Medals, and 3 Bronze Medals during three years of competition. The excellent run of the early 1900s by Luther Sampson and the PHS track program is listed below.  What makes Luther Sampson and Harry Apken's individual accomplishments even more spectacular is the fact that it was during the time when Illinois had one-class only system!
 
1903-04   Team Finished TENTH in IHSA STATE MEET Competition!!
 
               Individual Medalist              
 
               Luther Sampson              Hammer             2ND Place
                                                       Shot Put             3RD Place
 
               Final Team Standings

               1)  Pontiac                                 20  
               2)  Jacksonville (H.S.)                 15  
               2)  Anna                                    15  
               4)  Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)  13  
               5)  Chicago (North Division)          11  
               6)  Chicago (Hyde Park)              10  
               7)  Rushville                                 8   
               8)  Moline (H.S.)                           5  
               8)  Riverside (R.-Brookfield)           5

             10)  PETERSBURG HIGH SCHO0L 4

1904-05   Team Finished FOURTH in STATE MEET Competition!!

               Individual Medalist

               Luther Sampson              Hammer           STATE CHAMPION!!
                                                       Shot Put           2ND Place

               Final Team Standings 

               1)  Chicago (Englewood)                 16  
               2)  Chicago (Phillips)                       11 
               3)  Greenfield                                  10 
               4)  PETERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL    8  
               5)  Chicago (Crane)                           7  
               6)  DuQuoin (H.S.)                            6   
               6)  Carlyle                                        6  
               6)  Chicago (Lake View)                    6   
               9)  Chicago (Calumet)                       5   
               9)  Rushville                                     5  
               9)  Urbana (H.S.)                              5  
               9)  Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)        5  
               9)  Dixon (North)                               5  
               9)  Joliet (Twp.)                                 5  
               9)  Rochelle                                     5 1/2?  

1905-06   Team Finished SEVENTH in STATE MEET Competition!!

               Individual Medalists

               Luther Sampson                Discus                 3RD Place
                                                         Hammer              2ND Place
                                                         Shot Put              STATE CHAMPION!!

                Harry Apken                      Pole Vault           2ND Place
 

                Final Team Standings 

                1)  Chicago (Phillips)                         12  
                1)  Aurora (West)                              12
                3)  Chicago (Crane)                           11  
                4)  Wheaton (H.S.)                            10  
                4)  Chicago (Hyde Park)                     10  
                4)  Joliet (Twp.)                                 10  
                7)  PETERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL      9 4/7  
                8)  Chicago (North Division)                 7 4/7  
                9)  Springfield (H.S.)                           7  
                9)  Charleston                                    7

Academic Estra-Curriculars
 
Petersburg High School prved it had a well-rounded and diverse offering for its students.  Along with the athletic successes at Petersburg High were the successes attained in the academic world of PHS.  The successes attained in IHSA competition are listed below.  
 
DEBATE
 
1946-47          Sectional Champions
1948-49          TEAM FINISHED FIFTH IN STATE COMPETITION!!
                      Sectional Champions
 
                      Final Team Standings  
                      1)  LaGrange (Lyons)                        6-1  
                      2)  Rockford (West)                          5-2  
                      3)  Granite City                                4-2  
                      3)  Rock Island (H.S.)                       4-2  
                      5)  PETERSBURG HIGH SCHOOL    3-3  
                      5)  Freeport (H.S.)                            3-3  
                      5)  Downers Grove (H.S.)                  3-3  
                      5)  Galesburg (H.S.)                         3-3   
1950-51       Sectional Champions
 
DRAMA
 
1945-46        Team Qualified for STATE MEET!!
                   Sectional Champions
 
SPEECH SWEEPSTAKES

1947-48     Individual Medalist
               
                Jerry Chalcraft        Oratory Declamation     5TH Place
1956-57     District Champions
 
Seeking Your Help
 
A school photo, great teams and players, memorable faculty, all are things we would like to know about and share about Petersburg High School.  You can e-mail this information to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. or write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.   60631