The History of Raritan High School
Raritan (population 140) is located in upper-western Illinois in the southeast corner of Henderson County. Raritan
is about 23 miles southwest of Monmouth. Raritan is laid out at the intersection of County Highway 8 and County Highway 9.
Illinois Route 116 passes by the village about three miles to the north. According to www.mapquest.com Raritan is four blocks from east to west and two blocks from north to south. Raritan
is named when settlers of a town of the same name relocated to Illinois from New Jersey. The village was established
The village of Raritan is host to the Henderson County Illinois Museum (http://www.hendersoncountyillinoismuseum.com/). The museum is located in the former Raritan Grade School building which is pictured
above. The building served as a grade school for the town from 1926 through 1973.
The following information was sent to us by Howard Rescot:
"At the Henderson County,
Illinois museum I found out some
information for your site. Raritan, IL had one high school graduation class 1893. Then, after that date, the students went
to Media High School until 1971. Also, the
colors of Raritan school were green and white and they were know as the "Wildcats." This might be for the grade school not
high school though."
"Raritan School Building
The Henderson County Historical
Society was organized in 1962, but was active for only a few years. In 1975 there was renewed interest in preserving
the county’s history and the Historical Society became active again. A museum committee was formed, a storage
facility located and on Memorial Day, 1975, Howard Pruett from Oquawka (the north end of the county) and James Cook (a resident
of the south end of the county) were put to the task of acquiring artifacts.
The Raritan Grade School was built in 1925-26 and was strictly a town school until 1950,
when the rural one room schools were closed, and those students came to town for their education. In 1950 the flat roof
portion of the school was added. In 1954 the Morton building was attached and used primarily as a recess/physical education
school building was no longer used in 1973, due to the consolidation of Media-Wever and Stronghurst school districts the previous
year. Three years later the Historical Society was allowed to use the building to house the artifacts they had acquired
to that point.
1979 the Southern School District sold the building and surrounding lots to the village of Raritan. In turn, they sold
the building and surrounding lot to the Historical Society for the sum of $3,750.00.
By July 4, 1979, three and one half school rooms were filled with artifacts either donated
or loaned. The first curator was Rita Souther, a history major graduate of Brigham Young University. Ms. Souther later
was employed by the National Museum in Washington, D.C.
Since that time, there have been many hands that organized, catalogued and maintained the
brick school house. James and Doris Cook are still responsible for the building and have been for 35 years."
Raritan High School
Only graduating class: Class of 1893
Kids then attended: Media High School
Kids now attend:
Biggsville West Central High School
Year brick GS opened:
Year brick GS closed: 1973
Raritan GS nickname: "Wildcats"
GS colors: Green & White
Fight Song: ?