Norris City (population 1,057) is located in southeastern Illinois about 30 miles east of Benton and 10
miles southwest of Carmi. Norris City sits quietly in the southwest corner of White County 15 miles west of the Indiana
state line. U.S. Route 45 and Illinois Route 1 intersect just south of Norris City. The Conrail and Prairie
Trunk Railroads also intersects on Norris City's south side. A branch of the Bear Creek flows through the north
side of town.
The history of the town of Norris City and its former "solo" school system are in need of research.
We believe that Norris City residents probably had a high school in place by the late 1800s. We further believe that
Norris City consolidated its educational resources with its neighbor to the south, Omaha, in the mid to late 1940s.
The new district was named the Norris City-Omaha School District.
The following memories are provided by Alice Ann (Capen) Stephens:
"I graduated from Norris City High School in 1949 after having attended Norris City
Elementary downstairs in the same old building. When I attended the lower grades, there were no indoor restrooms, but
an outdoor one for the boys & another for the girls. By the 1950 school year the construction on
a new separate "Norris City Community Unit High School" was completed & opened across the street from where
I lived at the time. I have attached a picture of the old school as it looked in 1949 (see above). The Elementary
school was downstairs. The High School was upstairs as well as in the building addition shown at the
right side of the picture. The gymnasium was also in this addition. Humbert J Phelps
was the Principal of the High School and F E Welch was principal of the Elementary School. The
old Grade-High School building, I believe, is now the location of the school in the area for Special Education high
school students that are bussed in from a wide area of White County. My brother, Moe Capen,
still lives in Norris City and has helped me with much of this information."
The high school for the new District (Norris City-Omaha) remained in Norris City. This effort
lasted until Enfield joined them in 1985 creating the current Norris City-Omaha-Enfield School District.
Norris City High School Quick Facts
Year consolidated: mid
to late 1940s
Norris City-Omaha High School
Norris City HS team nickname: "Cardinals"
Norris City HS team colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: