The History of De Soto High School
DeSoto (population 1,653) is located in the far southern portion of Illinois in the east
central portion of Jackson County. U.S. Route 51 intersects with Illinois Route 149 as both travel through town. The
Illinois Central Railroad line travels through town as well. DeSoto is located about 4 miles north of Carbondale.
A nice history of the town of DeSoto can be viewed on the town's website at http://www.villageofdesoto.com/history.html . In summary, the article states that DeSoto is named after the Spainish explorer Hernando DeSoto.
It was platted in 1854 and a post office was established there in 1855. The area was found to be ripe with coal which
became a reason that the DeSoto flourished in its early years.
DeSoto has survived three major tragedies since its inception. Two large fires nearly destroyed the
town, one in the 1860s and the other in 1891. Another tragedy was the result of one of the most infamous tornados in
history, the Tri State Tornado of 1925. A summary of the devistation caused by this event can be read at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-State_Tornado . A total of 69 people died in the village of DeSoto when the tornado struck on March 18, 1925. The school was
also in session at that time and sadly 33 children were killed as the building was destroyed. The tornado is considered the
deadliest in United States history, killing 695 people as it traveled through Missouri, Illinois, and into Indiana. DeSoto residents are very resiliant. Many of the buildings and homes in the town were rebuilt. The school building
was also rebuilt.
We know very little about DeSoto High School. We believe high school courses were offered
at least from the early 1900s through the late 1940s. We are anxious to receive information to clarify the facts.
DeSoto continues to host a K-8 grade school. The DeSoto Grade School team name is the "Rangers".
The high school aged children of DeSoto today attend Carbondale High School. Please contact us if
you have further information regarding DeSoto High School.
DeSoto High School Quick Facts
Carbondale High School
DeSoto HS team nickname: "Rangers"(?)
DeSoto HS uniform colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable