The History of Keithsburg High School
The town of Keithsburg (population 714) is located in upper-western Illinois along the banks of the Mississippi
River. For further information, Keithsburg is in the southwest corner of Mercer County, about 45 miles southwest of the
The town is named after it's founder, Robert Keith. He also donated the first-ever
building for a school to the town, so long as it was used for school purposes around 1850 to 1855. As that wasn't followed
through, the building and offer were withdrawn. Another building was erected in 1856, and the main part
of that was used, with an addition to it in 1882.
The two photos above were provided to us by Richard Nash:
The photo at the top of the page is of the Keithsburg High School building constructed in 1928.
This building served as Keithsburg High School until 1960 when the consolidation effort into Westmer School District
The photo to the above right is of the Keithsburg School building constructed in 1885. It is believed this
building served as the only building for grades 1 -12 prior to the construction of the "new" building in 1928.
This building continued to serve as the grade Keithsburg Grade School through 1960. It was likely toen down
shortly after its closure.
Keithsburg joined in a consolidation effort of western Mercer County towns Joy, New Boston, and Eliza in the early 1960s. A new high school came of the effort and is located in nearby Joy (Westmer HS).
In 2010 Wesmer High School consolidated with Aledo High School leading to the creation of the Mercer County School District. The high school classes are held in Aledo.
Amanda Gresham provided the following information on the history of Keithsburg Schools:
"The high school building or buildings were in fact demolished following the closure
and consolidation to Westmer. All that remains is what to me looks like may have been part of the foundation for a gymnasium
(?), the sidewalk that at one time led up to the schools front doors (shown in your website's pictures), and the row of trees
that line the front of the schoolyard (which also can be seen in your pictures). The current high school students of
Keithsburg attend classes in Aledo.
The building pictured and titled the "New" Keithsburg Grade
School (below), still exsists but is now the Keithsburg town hall. The grade school children attend class in New
Keithsburg High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s?
Year closed: 1960
Consolidated to: Westmer High School (Joy)
Students Now Attend: Aledo Mercer County High School
School nickname: the "Blackhawks"
School colors: Black & Orange
School Fight Song: (To the tune of "There's A Long, Long Trail A-Winding")
Tune name the lyrics submitted by Stephanie Sirotnak Braucht
will praise those grand old colors,
Salute the orange and black.
We'll give three cheers for Keithsburg
Let them all ring back.
We are off to certain victories,
And we will take nothing less;
For that's the truest motto
Of our dear old K.H.S.
Rah! Rah! Rah!
"The superintendent of Keithsburg High School from 1935 through the mid-1940s was E.H. Test,
who succeeded Mr. Platt. Coach for all sports at the school for that same time period was Lawrence
Some of the memorable teachers from the late 1930s included:
1st Grade: Miss Greenwood
5th Grade: Mrs. Hamilton
6th Grade: Miss Meva Keel
7/8th Grade: Mrs. Keith Stanley
HS History: Miss Olga Reipe
HS English: Miss Opal Stephens"