The History of Sailor Springs High School
Sailor Springs (population 128) is located in the west-central portion of Clay County
in the southeastern portion of Illinois. Sailor Springs is about 30 miles southeast of Effingham. The town is situated
on the Dieterich Blacktop just south of County Highway 3. Sailor Springs is seven blocks from east to west and five
blocks from north to south (www.mapquest.com)..
"An interesting story is one told of Sailor Springs. This village of
a few hundred people is five and a half miles north of Clay City. In an early day there was found at this place a number of
springs with very peculiar water. This water was thought to be the cause of “milk-sick” and so the stock was fenced
from the springs. In 1869 Mrs. Thomas M. Sailor of Ohio bought the land—four hundred acres—containing the
springs. Mr. Sailor had the water tested and found it contained health-giving properties. Illuminating gas has been
gathered from the springs and it has been thought it could be made of real value about the hotels. Back in the 70’s
and 80’s the springs were liberally patronized as a summer resort. Two big hotels with fifty rooms each were often crowded
while scores and perhaps hundreds lived in tents upon the beautiful grounds. In recent years the reputation of the springs
has somewhat declined and the place is not so popular.".
A fantastic web site dedicated to the history and memories of growing up in Sailor Springs is
found at the web address of http://mabelsblog.com/ . The web site was created by author Mabel Leo and provides some incredible history and fond memories
of Sailor Springs from Mabel.
The history of the Sailors Springs High School is needed. Research conducted by Dave Sanders
located a chat log at the web address of http://pub11.bravenet.com/guestbook/show2.php?usernum=886605773 . On this log one lady named Donna Ward wrote that her father attended Sailor Springs High School which
at that time (late1920s/early 1930s) was a "2-year high school." Her father completed a third year at Clay City
High School, to which he walked to and from each day. Clay City, at that time, was only a 3-year high school.
Other high school-aged kids of Sailor Springs would attend Flora High School after graduating their second year in Sailor
Brad, a former student of the Sailor Springs Grade School, tells us the following
about the school building:
"The sailor springs school system consolidated with Clay City in 1970. I attended
1969 sailor springs school’s first grade. My first grade class consisted of 5 children including myself. It was a two
room school house with first through fifth grade in one room located to the left side as you entered the school. On the right
was sixth through eighth grade. My older sisters were in 6th and 8th grades. My oldest sister was one of two kids in her 8th
Mrs. Gentry taught the lower grade classroom and Mrs. Gray the older children.
Upstairs was a classroom which was used for speech. There was a gym in the back of the school which was destroyed by
a tornado much later. The gym was very nice. Big oak curved beams layered the ceiling of the gym. Lunch was served daily in
The school had one bus. A bus shed was to the right of the school. Our team nickname was the "Tigers", our uniform colors
were Royal Blue & Gold, and our cheerleaders even made their own pom poms."
We believe Sailor Springs was a two-year high school which likely began in the early 1900s, possibly
as late as the early 1920s. It was probably closed in the late 1940s. We do know that the kids of Sailor Springs today
attend school in nearby Clay City as part of the Clay City School District.
Sailor Springs High School Quick Facts
Year GS Closed:
Clay City High School
Sailor Springs HS nickname: "Tigers"
Sailor Springs HS colors: Royal Blue & Gold
School Fight Song: