|West Hume Country School
|Courtesy of the Tampico Historical Society Photo Gallery
A History of Whiteside
County Country Schools
Whiteside County, Illinois is located in northwest Illinois. Aurora, Rockford and the Quad
Cities are all within one-hour's driving distance from points in the county. Such major routes as Illinois Routes 2, 40, 78
and 84 take you to the county as well as U.S. Route 30 and Interstate 88. The Mississippi River borders the northwestern side
of the county and the Meredosia Creek on the southwestern side. Counties bordering Whiteside are Bureau, Carroll, Henry, Lee
and Ogle. The Rock River, which extends from north of Janesville, Wisc. to the Quad Cities, runs though the center of the
county. Other streams include the Hennepin Feeder Canal, Elkhorn Creek, Rock Creek and the Green River. The Union Pacific
Railroad (formerly Chicago & Northwestern) and the Burlington Northern-Santa Fe Railroad (formerly Chicago, Burlingon
& Quincy) serve Whiteside County.
Whiteside County is named after Samuel Whiteside, who was a general in the United
States Army. He came to this area in 1832 at the height of the Black Hawk War. This county has the birthplace of the 40th
President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, who was born in Tampico in 1911; J. Mason Reeves, a Commander in Chief of the
US Navy, also born around Tampico; and 1974 Nobel Prize Chemist Paul Flory, born in Sterling.
The following towns and hamlets are located in this county: Agnew, Albany, Coleta,
Como, Deer Grove, Denrock, East Clinton, Emerson, Erie, Fulton, Galt, Garden Plain, Hahnaman, Jefferson Corners, Kingsbury,
Leon, Malvern, Morrison, New Genesee, Penrose, Portland, Prophetstown, Rock Falls, Round Grove, Sanfordville, Spring Hill,
Sterling, Tampico, Union Grove, Unionville, Ustick, and White Pigeon.
Going West to East and North to South, the following townships are located on the
north side of the Rock River: Albany, Fulton, Garden Plain, Newton, Erie, Ustick, Union Grove, Fenton, Clyde, Mount Pleasant,
Lyndon, Genesee, Hopkins, Jordan and Sterling. Going West to East and North to South, the following townships are located
on the south side of the Rock River: Portland, Prophetstown, Hume, Tampico, Coloma, Montmorency and Hahnaman.
In 1787, the Northwest Territory was surveyed and the Northwest Ordinance was passed
that year. It laid out the territory in sections and townships. There are 36 sections in each township. Section #16 was to
be reserved for school use. This measure was not followed much in Whiteside County. Where there were not schools, the land
was sold back to the township.
The first school commissioner was Mr. Daniel B. Young in 1840. Most of the few
schools built at the time were subscription (tuition) based. W.M. Kilgore formed the Whiteside County Education Association
in 1854, and Charles S. Deining was the first President. By 1840 there were at least 150 school districts and with consolidations,
then by 1967 the number was reduced to 37. Today (2011) there are public school districts headquartered in Fulton, Morrison,
Prophetstown, Sterling and Rock Falls, plus and three outlying school districts near Rock Falls: Montmorency, East Coloma
In addition to public education, there are numerous private schools in the County,
including two which offer high school education: Newman Central Catholic in Sterling, and Unity Christian in Fulton. There
was also an Amish school called Fairfield located in Tampico Township for many years until moving just outside the
county into northern Bureau County.
Country schools in Whiteside County were the places where a lot of the township
duties took place. The buildings were large enough and free-roaming inside for such large-scale events to take place. Succinctly,
they were the most important places in the township. Up to eight or ten schools once situated on one township. Township elections
and church services were all held in the building when school was not in session. Sadly, all these buildings have been discontinued
and have either been torn down, converted into a home or have been put to other uses.
Alphabetically, we are going to feature a brief history of the Country Schools
located in the Whiteside County townships. The definition of a “Country School” is commonly a one-two room schoolhouse
either made with a frame structure or a small brick structure.
|Stueben Country School
The total area of Albany Township is skinny. Located in the extreme western portion of the county, there
was not much room for a country school in Albany Township. However, there was one country school in the township. It was called
Dublin. It was coordinated along with the other country schools in adjoining Newton Township to the east.
This school, which is also known as Phrogg Landing School, was located on Fuller Road, just north of Stern Road, in Section
#13. It ceased operation in 1952 when a new, larger grade school was built in the town of Albany, in the extreme northern
part of the township.
Dublin is still standing, and has been converted into a home.
The first school built in Clyde Township was in 1844 in the cabin of Lucy Exley. The first
schoolhouse was built in 1846 on Section #28 possibly on present-day Lyndon Road. Altogether, there were eight country schools
in Clyde Township. All country school functions ceased in 1958 with the founding of Clystic Consolidated School.
The names of these schools were West Clyde, Greenwood, Center, Malvern, Aldritt, Franklin,
James and North Clyde. The Malvern school was located within it’s town boundaries and was torn down and replaced
with a home. Today, there is only a few houses located in the town.
Franklin School was located at the southeast corner of Lyndon and Covell Roads. This area,
known as Franklin Corners, was where the Mount Carmel Orphanage was located. The home was on the southwest corner and was
run for a great number of years by the Zook Family, who owned the Mission Farm on the northeast corner. The Zooks built a
school building south of the orphanage for its tenants, which was used until 1940, when students were sent to the Franklin
School. The Franklin School building has now been converted into a home, while the Orphanage property has since been razed.
Greenwood (located on Spring Valley Road between Snyder and Lake roads) and Center (located
on Felton Road south of the Appel Mill over Rock Creek) have been converted into homes. West Clyde on the corner of Rick and
Snyder roads, was used as a welding shop after closing as a school, and then converted into a home.
North Clyde, located on Snyder and Covell roads, has been torn down. James was located on the
sound end of Malvern Road, but the structure has since moved to the farm property across the road.
Aldritt, located on the southwest corner of Capp and Lake roads, was located on property owned
by the Aldritt family. Not too long after closing as a school, Aldritt was torn down. However, the ruins are still visible
(as of 2011) behind overgrown weeds.
Rock Falls and its subdivisions take up almost all of Coloma Township. There were only two
country schools in the township, and they are still established to this very day, albeit in much larger capacities than what
East Coloma School was founded in 1846. It was located around on the corner
of Dixon Avenue and McNeil Road. The building was replaced in 1906 with a larger one. In 1952, a newer and larger brick building
was built and it stands today, serving the subdivisions to the east and southeast of Rock Falls as well as the Lee County
community of Nelson.
Riverdale School was established in the late 1800s. To accompany the nearby
Allen subdivision and the Crestview Estates and Riverview Estates mobile parks nearby, the building was expanded in the late
1940s-early 1950s. For years it was District #14. The school closed in 2012 as an independent graded school, and is now
used by the Rock Falls Elementary school district as a pre-kindergarten school.
This oddly-shaped township is small enough that the town of Erie has provided most of the township's
school needs. There was one school during the 1900s that served students from the western area of the township. This school,
called Wheelock School, was located south of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroad tracks
on Sand Road, and has since been converted into a home. The Wheelock School was founded in 1840 by Andrew Wheelock, who donated
land for school purposes.
Another school was located along Cordova Road east of Sand Road in Township Section #2 called
West Sand Ridge. It is believed the school joined together with East Sand Ridge in Fenton Township around
the late 1900s or early 1910s.
Until the newer school in Fenton was completed in 1955, five country schools served Fenton
Township during the 1900s. The first school was organized in 1848 on Section #26. Fenton also had an early school before the
newer complex was completed.
Pratt School was built in the mid-1800s and served the community of Pratt,
which was located between Erie and Denrock along the CB&Q tracks. The community was a failure, and only the schoolhouse
(which has converted into a home) is left standing.
Lynn Creek was another school as well as Sand Ridge, in which
the local Dunkards religion held service. Both schools have since been razed. Lynn Creek was located on the north side of
Thome Road just east of Clyde Road. As far back as 1866 Coburn School was where the United Brethren organized
their society. It was located in Section #21, and was located along Black Road at the intersection with Smit Road. That school
has since been razed.
East Sand Ridge was located along Star Road at the intersection with Short
road. West Sand Ridge was located in Erie Township.
Like the aforementioned Erie Township, Fulton Township is also small enough to have its main
town of Fulton handle the township's school needs. However, there were three schools outside of the city limits. They were
Smith, Cottage Grove and Tehan.
It is believed that Tehan School was a larger building with two rooms and employed two teachers
at the same time. Cottage Grove was located on Penrose Road, just east of Route 84. Smith School was located on Frog Pond
Road, south of the intersection of Routes 30 and 136. Unfortunately all of the one-room school houses in the Township have
been torn down. Tehan and Smith schools were on property owned by their namesakes.
Garden Plain Township
There were three schools as far as can be researched in Garden Plain Township. One was the
school located in the town of Garden Plain. It was established in 1850 and replaced in 1869 and 1906. The
1906 building was still kept in use at the time when all of the country schools consolidated into the newer school building
in the town in 1952. The older school still has the namestone at the top, and has been converted into a home.
The only other small community in Garden Plain Township is called East Clinton,
which is located south of Route 30 and west of Route 84 near Fulton. Plans to plat the area never materialized, and all it
is comprised of is a group of houses along Ward Road. There was a school at one time along this row, which has been converted
into a home.
The Cedar Creek School District had two buildings. One was located near the
mouth of the Cedar Creek, which is near the intersection of Garden Plain Road and Route 84. The other building was located
not too far away. One of the two buildings is located at the southwest corner of Garden Plain Road and Diamond Road.
Lockhart School is still standing, and was located on Holly Road, just east
of Sand Road. Stone Street School, located between Kennedy and Elston roads, has been torn down. Mount
Hope, located on Bunker Hill Road east of Sand Road, has also been demolished.
Creek School was located on Benson Road between Kennedy and Diamond roads, and has since been razed. Linda
Tucker Port shared the following memory regarding the Spring Creek School:
brother and I were the 3rd generation of our family to attend Spring Creek School,
and own surrounding properties. I watched the day that the school building was
taken down. The neighbors came in with tractors and pushed it in and then
they burned it. The old piano that I used to play with at recess was speared
by a tractor loader and dumped on to the pile as well. It nearly broke my heart
to see it all go."
|Sping Creek Country School, 1897
|Courtesy of Linda Tucker Port
*From Linda Tucker Port:
above is of the Spring Creek School taken in the late 1800's when my
grandma, Elizabeth Slaymaker, was a student there. My grandma is in the black dress in the
center front of the picture. Her brother Alvin Slaymaker is second from the
left in the back row behind the fence, and the tall girl in the middle of that
row was her cousin Mary Curry."
to have these buildings lost forever, we are glad we can share Linda's memory here.
one time or another there were at least ten schools in Genesee Township. Township pioneer
Ivory Colcord taught the first school in the township. Over time, most of the school's structures have survived
– the greatest rate of survival out of all of the other rural townships
in the county.
Bastian's 1967 history of Whiteside County lists the Coleta
School as a one-room schoolhouse. The school was two rooms, and was briefly the
site of Coleta High School (listed on this website). This school was torn down
in favor of the newer consolidated building in the late 1950s.
is the only other school to have been razed over the years. It was located on
Yorktown Road, south of Dean Road. Other than Coleta and Elm, seven other country schools are still standing,
and all have been converted into homes:
was around at least by 1854 and was located next to Hazel Green Cemetery, which
is on the present-day curve of Genesee and Elson Roads.
Hickory Grove was
located off of Fulfs Road between Manton and Blue Goose roads, and situated within
the small plat of New Genesee.
LaFayette was located on Luther Road, just
north of Quinn Road. It's history has been preserved well in clippings and other
reminisces, which is available at the Sterling Public Library.
sat at the northwest corner of Manton and Hobson Roads. Salem
sat on Luther Road, just south of the curve of Route 40. Steuben was on the corner of Route 40 and Genesee
Road. Washington still has the school-type framework intact,
and is located on Coleta Road south of the village.
was one of the last settled in Whiteside County. Its earliest school was located
on section #4 before having been moved to section #3 and back to section #4. It was located on Bell Road east of Route
40. All country schools in the township ceased operation in late 1950s. Four of
the township's six schools have been torn down.
Deer Grove (pop. 50) had
a school located within its boundaries, but was razed at a later date. Advance
School, located on a former post office station on the corner of Route 40 and Bell
Road, was also torn down. Maple Grove, located southeast of the village on Polo Road near the CB&Q
tracks, is gone. Champion, located on Hickory Hills Road between
Mill and Bell roads, sat empty for a number of years before being torn down.
The two schools left standing are Island and Reeves, and
both have been converted into homes. Island is located on the southwest corner of
Hahnaman and Polo roads, just west of the small plat of Hahnaman. Reeves School
was located on the plot of the relatives of J. Mason Reeves on the corner of present-day
Hahnaman Road and Hickory Hills Road.
Hopkins Township can claim to
have the first and last one-two-room schools in Whiteside County.
The first was established in Como (south of Route 30 a few miles from Sterling
& Rock Falls) in 1842, four years after being established as a settlement. For nearly 140 years,
the school in Como served the school-aged students until closing and becoming
a part of the Sterling School District. The buildings had been updated over time.
The current brick structure, and additions, has since been converted into a home.
school in the county was built in Emerson (then called Empire)
and it was called Oak Grove Academy. It burned down and was replaced by another building south of the main road that passes
through town. Renamed Empire School and again renamed Emerson School, it stayed
in existence until 1965 when a new and larger Emerson School building was built.
For one year, the building was used as a church for the Southern Baptist Church of Rock
Falls, but is currently a home.
Just a couple miles south of Emerson is the town
of Galt. Before a school building was built, it was previously
in a town hall. The building was torn down later in favor of a newer and larger Galt
Outside of the smaller hamlets, but out in the countyside of Hopkins Township
were three schoolhouses. Two have since been razed. Hopewell
school was located on Hazel Road just west of the Coleta Blacktop and across from
the Our Savior Lutheran Church (the school may have once been called the Blair School at one time). North Star
School sat along Holly Road northwest of Emerson.
The last country school in Whiteside County was Woodside School. Located on
Mathew Road between Matznick and Blue Goose Roads, Woodside School served students from the southern
portion of the township. Mostly, it served the houses that are in a grove called
Round Grove. It is possible that children from the town of Round Grove (located
in Mount Pleasant Township to the west) attended Woodside School before it shut down. Students from the Round Grove
area now attend Morrison or Sterling Schools. Woodside finally shut down in 1968, and
has been converted into a home.
Unlike other country schools in Whiteside County, the
ones in Hume Township were called Center, East, West, North and South.
Only Center, North and East Hume schools still stand. North Hume has been converted into
a home, and was located at the intersection of Prophetstown and Tampico roads.
Hume Center, located east of the grounds of the Gaulrapp-Coe Turkey Farm, was
on Gaulrapp Road just east of Tampico Road. East Hume, located at the intersection of Ridge
and Knief roads, is also a home.
West Hume was the located of the first school
in the township, built in 1857 on the Cleaveland Farm near the intersection of
Prophetstown Road and Blue Goose Road.
South Hume was located at the southwest corner of
Star and Tampico Roads (currently where Route 172 curves into Tampico).
|Kempsterville Country School
Eight country schools were located in Jordan Township. The most known one of all was the building
simply known as the Stone School. It is made out of limestone. Located at the intersection of Freeport Road
and Quinn Road, it’s origins date back to the days of the Coe School that was located a little bit to the north and
on the other side of Freeport Road. Coe School was discontinued in 1869 in favor of the Stone School.
Jordan Center was located on a small “corners” settlement on Hoover
and Penrose roads. It was torn down to make way for the new consolidated school, which was first occupied in 1954.
Kapp is actually a misspelling of the name “Capp” which is the
name of one of the roads this school is on. The school was located on the intersection of Route 40 and Capp roads, near the
Maple Grove subdivision.
Talbott, located on the corner of Polo and Covell roads, has been converted
into a home; as was Fairview, located at the corner of Polo and Penrose roads.
Compton, located on the corner of Buell and Covell roads, was torn down; as
was Gould, located at the corner of Ridge and Genesee roads in the far western part of the township.
Like Erie and Fulton townships, Lyndon Township is an odd-shaped one that
has a central community that was in the center of it. But unlike the others, Lyndon Township had a few more country schools
that served the needs of the area's children.
Only one survives. The Bend School, located north of the
Rock River (on a bend in the river) along former Route 2 (Moline Road), has been converted into a home. There were four others,
and all have been razed over the years.
Hamilton Grove was the school that served the small “corners”
settlement of Hamilton Corners, which is located where Route 78 heads north from the former Route 2. When the highways were
re-routed, the school was moved to another nearby location and later torn down.
Greene School was also located along the former Route
2 just east of Lyndon. Langdon School was located a couple of miles north of Interstate 88 along Route 78.
Richman School was on the corner of Wayne and Sawyer roads. All three have been torn down.
The Bend School may have also been named Fergeson at one point.
Like aforementioned Hahnaman Township, Montmorency was one of the last settled townships in
Whiteside County. There were at least seven country schools located in this township. In 1957, these schools were consolidated
into the Montmorency School that is still in operation on IL 40 south of Rock Falls.
Excelsior School was located on Section #9 of Montmorency Township at the intersection
of IL 40 and Thome Road. For years it served children living just south of Rock Falls. When the Sterling-Rock Falls Airport
was built in 1955, many new homes popped up around it, which was a quarter mile north of the school. The need for a new school
was brought about. Excelsior School quietly stood empty for almost 50 years, torn down in the early 2000s.
East on Thome Road from Excelsior was Sturtz School, which was located not
too far from the Lee County line. It is still standing, and was converted into a home. Two more former schools are still standing:
Allpress School, located on the southeast corner of Buell and Gualrapp roads, is now a home; as well as Bane
School, located off of Star Road near the intersection of Routes 40 and 172.
McWhorter School was located along the county line on County Line Road. Now
gone, the school was where the first religious services of the Township were held (in 1860). The two remaining country schools
in the township have not only both been torn down, but are also no longer accessible by road. These schools were Elmendorf
(on property north of Route 172), and Swan Lake (south of where Freeport Road “T's” with Plautz
Road. It is believed these schools ceased functions earlier than the other Township country schools.
Mount Pleasant Township
Mount Pleasant Township is home to Morrison, which is Whiteside County's
seat and home to many government offices. Morrison is located on the western end of the Township, and there were as many as
seven country schools scattered elsewhere throughout.
Bunker Hill Road, which is a long stretch of road on the south end of the
Township, boasted three of the schools. Only the Humphrey School at the intersection with Yager Road is believed
still standing. The two others – Upton School at the intersection with Sawyer Road, and McAllister
School at the intersection with Lyndon Road – have been torn down.
Three of the other four schools are believed to still be standing. Those
schools are: Hiddleson School at the corner of Lyndon and Holly roads, McElrath School at
the corner of Round Grove and Holly roads, and Mt. Pleasant Center School on Route 30 just east of Lyndon
Knox School on Yager Road between Route 30 and Hazel Road
has been torn down.
The first school was started in the cabin of Mr. Henry Rexroade in Section #23. The first schoolhouse
was built in 1842 on present-day Albany Road. It was then known as “Slocumb Street” and the school
was known as that. It later turned into an Implement company.
The Newton Country Schools were unique in one way for a strong unity. In 1918 “Township
Homecomings” were started. The first one was started while welcoming home soldiers from the Great War (World War I)
and all country schools participated along with Dublin in Albany Township. Baseball games were played with each school contributing
a part of the winning purse that was divided amongst the players of the winning team. This effort lasted for about 20 years.
The township had two small settlements, Kingsbury and Mineral Springs, and both have dwindled
to almost nothing. Kingsbury School, built in 1854, was expanded and retained for the new Newton Consolidated
School – formed to bunch the one-room schoolhouses in the township together. Mineral Springs was located
on a site where there were natural minerals thought to be relieving to the human body. A school was set up around the site,
and today the Mineral Spring school is now a home.
Of the five other county schools in the township, three are still at their original locations
– all having been converted into homes: Anglese (at the corner of Stropes and Pryor roads), Dewey
(at the northern curve of Wilder Road just west of the Erie-Albany blacktop) and West Newton (on Rice Road
west of Diamond Road).
Cottle School was located on the corner of Frog Pond and Rock roads before
being torn down in the late 1950s, and Byers was later moved from its original location on Elston Road between
Albany and Benson roads.
As many as eight schools were in existence in Portland Township in the late 1840s and there
were ten by the 1880s. The number went back down to eight by the early 1900s. The first school in the township was located
in a log cabin on the Seeley property along present-day Thunder Road along the Rock River.
Portland was the predecessor to Prophetstown. After the CB&Q railroad bypassed
Portland, most of its settlers moved into Prophetstown. All that remains of Portland are a few houses. It's school was located
on the bottom of Thunderbolt Hill – said to be named after an Indian chief from the area. That school was converted
into a home after the consolidation of all the township's country schools.
Spring Hill is the largest settlement in the Township, despite having less
than 50 people. It's school was converted into the town hall. Jefferson Corners didn't become the platting
it planned to be, but a school was erected there; it has since become a home.
Kempsterville School is located in the far southwest corner of the county,
in an area known as Dutch Bottoms. The school building retains its original brick appearance and was converted into a home
for many years before abandoned. Kempsterville is located on the highway leading southeast from Hillsdale (in Rock Island
County) between Hurd Road and the Henry County line.
Sandytown was, oddly enough, nowhere near any “town”. It was located
along Spring Hill Road between Portland and Spring Hill. The building was used as a bus garage for the consolidated school
when that opened, and later used as storage when that school closed. The bell tower remains intact, but the bell was removed.
Burke School on Lyman Road just west of the Erie Road has also been converted
into a home. Arnett, located on Osage Road between Lynch and Smit roads, has been torn down.
Sharon School is still in need of research. It is believed to be in the vicinity
of the Sharon Church and Cemetery on Spring Hill Road, west of the namesake settlement.
Outside of Prophetstown, located in the far north part of the Township, there were six other
country schools. The first school taught was located at the Asa Crook home outside of Prophetstown. That building is a historic
landmark now. A unique octagon-shaped building was built in 1860 in Prophetstown called the Franklin Institute. It was discontinued
at an early date.
Two schools had the word “Street” in their names, because they were located on roads
that led to, and led out of, Prophetstown. Benton Street School was located on present-day Kiner Road and
Cooper Road, and was the last one-room school in the county before closing in 1961 (Woodside School in Hopkins Township was
the last two-room country school to close). It's school bell was later moved to Prophetstown, and is displayed near the Prophetstown
Jackson Street School was located on the corner of present-day Star Road and
Felton Road. Both schools have been converted into homes. (It is also important to note that the names of the Prophetstown
streets changed at some point in its early history. Benton Street is now Washington Street, and Jackson Street is now 3rd
Street – and not to be confused with the current Jackson Street on the south end of town).
Four of five other country schools have since been removed. Leon, located outside
of the settlement of Leon Corners, was on Yager Road between Hurd and Lomax roads. Prairie (or Prairieview)
was located on Perkins Road just north of Mill Road. Centerville was on Lyndon Road south of Lomax Road before
being torn down in favor of the new consolidated school that would later serve the township. Crestview was
at the junction of Prophetstown and Star roads before being torn down in favor of the new consolidated school.
Woodward Bluff was located on the corner of Lomax and Lake roads near the bluff.
It is now a home.
Another former school building, that is now a home, was located on Anderson Road between Lyndon
and Felton roads. The name of this school is unknown to this writer at this time.
Since the city of Sterling is located within most of Sterling Township's borders, not many country
schools were located there. There were four country schools located in the township.
The first one was Science Ridge Country School. That school soon split into an East-West arrangement.
The original building, West Science Ridge, was located along Science Ridge Road just east of Route 40. In
1877, there were 125 students enrolled. The East Science Ridge School was on Holly Road just east of
Freeport Road. When Washington School in Sterling was built in 1951 children were moved to that school, which was the northernmost
school in the city at that time. Both schools later became homes.
Another one was east of Sterling on Woodlawn Road. Named Woodlawn School (and
originally named Mount Parnassus), it was a frame building that was built in the 1800s. A 1927 fire destroyed the building
and a brick structure replaced it. Subdivision growth towards the west with the Mineral Springs additions and the east with
the Gregden Shores and Crestview additions prompted school expansion into a larger structure. The school later became a part
of Sterling's school district before being closed in the 1980s. The main building has since been torn down, but the annex
survives and is now home to the Woodlawn Arts Academy.
Union School was located on the corner of Fulfs and Hickory Hills roads. It
has been converted into a home.
In 1856, the first school was located in the Aldrich property. By 1885 there were seven country
schools located in the Township. The number narrowed to six in the 1900s.
Only two of the six country schools in the Township are still standing.
Maple Hill was a brick school that was located on the corner of Hahnaman Road
and Luther Road. After closing, it was used as the Fairfield Amish Mennonite School for those Amish living in the area until
perhaps the 1970s. Sunnyside School, located on the corner of Blue Goose and Hurd Roads, was later put into
use by the nearby Sunnyside Farm.
Of the four schools that are now gone, Highland sat on the corner of Blue Goose
and Mill roads, Cloverdale sat on the corner of Yorktown and Hurd roads, Pleasant Hill sat
on Coleta Road just north of Hurd Road, and Olson was also on Coleta Road between Fargo and Mill roads. Cloverdale
may have also been named Ross at one point.
Union Grove Township
Not much is known about the schools in Union Grove Township other than those located within
the platted towns. Union Grove and Unionville each had schools. Unionville had the first
school in the township and a second was built in 1854-55. That building was converted into a town hall. After school functions
ceased, students went to the adjoining Morrison School District.
There was a country school located on the NW corner of present-day Prairie Center and Hillside
Roads. It was known as the Prairie Center Country School, built in 1879. Another school, the original Union
Grove School, was moved alongside it in 1954 and served as part of the Union Grove Consolidated School. Its school bell has
been restored and is on display at the Morrison Heritage Museum.
Lincoln School, located on the northeast corner of Court and Millard roads,
has been converted into a home. Bunker Hill School is located on Bunker Hill road near the top of the bluffs
and west of a peat farm. Independent is along the bluffs on Fenton Road just north of Garden Plain Road.
The latter two have been converted into homes.
Green Valley School, located on Bunker Hill Road north of the intersection
with Smit Road, has been torn down. Delhi (or Diehl) School, also located on Bunker Hill Road at the intersection
with Henry Road, has also been torn down.
In 1841 the first school in Ustick Township was organized in the attic of the cabin of Mr. Amos
Short. The first country school, Otter Bluff, was located on Section #8 on the corner of present-day Spring
Valley and Smaltz Roads in 1856. Eight more schools followed, eventually going down to seven by the 1900s.
Cottonwood was one of the last to operate, closing in 1958. It was located
on the grounds of the Franklin Methodist Church and Cemetery off of Route 30 and Millard Road. It was originally called Franklin.
After closing, the building became a produce stand and then into a home. The building was made out of cottonwood logs, hence
Hollinshead School, which stands on the northern corner Spring Valley and Smaltz
roads along the west end of the bluff, was converted into a corncrib.
Gridley School, on Malvern Road between Creamery and Henry roads, has been
converted into a home. Cobb School, on the corner of Covell Road and Route 78, was also converted into a home. Spring
Valley School, located near the church on Spring Valley and Hillside roads, was also converted into a home. Robertson
School, on Loron Road just west of the settlement of Ustick, also became a home.
Crouch School, on the corner of Union Grove and Millard Roads, has been torn
down. Goff School was moved from the former lot along the bluffs on the corner of Hillside and Krueger roads.
|Hollinshead Country School
|Fenton Consolidated School
The Consolidated Schools
Throughout the 1950’s, Country Schools began to disappear and new “consolidated
schools” provided a centralized school within the township boundaries. There were two meetings when voting to organize
a consolidated school: one was to vote on the consolidation itself and the second was to approve a new school building. These
measures assured an increase of state aid and the broadening of the area tax base. Unfortunately by the 1980s, these consolidated
schools closed down and students were sent in town for education. All of these buildings are still standing.
ALBANY Consolidated School (Dist. 139) was located inside the town. It was
formed with the consolidation of the Albany Grade School and Dublin Country School. In 2005, the school was closed and students
were sent to Fulton (River Bend District).
CENTERVILLE (Dist. 77) was built in 1954. It eventually consolidated with
the Prophetstown School system, and is now a home.
CLYSTIC (Dist. 149) was built in 1957-58 and included the area of western
Clyde Township and eastern Ustick Township. It eventually consolidated with the Morrison School system, and is now a factory.
COLETA (Dist. 138) was located just south of the town and was built on the
former site of the older school in 1957. After it was annexed into the Sterling Schools system in 1982, it was converted into
a small factory.
CRESTVIEW (Dist. 148) was located on the former site of the old Crestview
Country School and completed in 1954. Located just west of the intersection of Prophetstown Road and Star Road on old IL 172,
it was closed down and converted into a construction building. It eventually consolidated with the Prophetstown School system.
FENTON (Dist. 135) was built in 1955 and served children of its town and
northern Fenton Township and southern Union Grove Township. It eventually consolidated with the Erie School system, and was
a residence for years. The building is now empty, and its land currently (2011) awaiting auction.
GARDEN PLAIN (Dist. 142) included ¾ of its township and in 1952 was built
across the town from the older school. It eventually consolidated with the Fulton (River Bend) School system. The building
is still used for Township purposes.
HAHNAMAN (Dist. 147) was built in 1956 and included all but the southern
portions of its township. It eventually consolidated with Tampico. The building is still used for Township purposes.
GALT (Dist. 39), which was built
in 1952 on the grounds of its old school, and EMERSON (Dist. 42), which was built in 1965 west of the village, consolidated
in 1967 to form the HOPKINS School District. It included all of Hopkins Township. The Emerson building held lower grades,
with the Galt building taking the higher-graded students. Hopkins eventually consolidated with the Sterling School system
in 1982. The Galt building is now in use as the Sterling Christian High School and it has been in that capacity since 1991.
The Emerson building was used for storage by the Sterling district before being converted into a factory. It now (2011) sits
JORDAN (Dist. 143) opened in 1954 on top of the grounds of the old Jordan
Center Country School. It eventually consolidated with the Sterling School system in 1982 and has been used for storage purposes
NEWTON (Dist. 140) was built around the old Kingsbury School in 1955. It
served the northern part of its township. It eventually consolidated with the Erie School system.
PORTLAND (Dist. 146) served the eastern part of Portland Township, built
in 1954. It eventually consolidated with the Prophetstown School system, and is used for storage purposes.
UNION GROVE (Dist. 150) consisted of two schools. The new school building
in Union Grove was built in 1958. The Prairie Center School was consolidated into that district. Union Grove educated younger
children and Prairie Center educated older children. The two sites eventually merged, and ultimately the district consolidated
with the Morrison School system. The Prairie Center complex was converted into a home, while the Union Grove complex is used
as a church.
Whiteside County by Wayne Bastian was published in 1969 and was the main
source used for this feature. The schools had since changed from that time and this should be an updated history of the school
There were two earlier histories of Whiteside County that were also used: Bent-Wilson's
1877 publication, and W.W. Davis's 1908 publication.
Township plat maps were also a main source, and are viewable through the Historic
Map Works website (http://www.historicmapworks.com).
ANY ADDITIONS AND CHANGES ARE WELCOME! This by no means is a finished product.
We are particularly looking for pictures and more information and even more schools to add to the list of schools that have
already been compiled here. If you have any more information about a Whiteside County country school, please E-mail Cody Cutter
at firstname.lastname@example.org .
|Portland Consolidated School
|near Spring Hill, Ill.