Dana High School "Demons"

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Dana High School Building
danahs1.jpg
November, 2005

Dana High School
danahs2.jpg
Front Entrance

The History of Dana High School
 
The village of Dana (population 171) sits quietly in the lower southwestern portion of LaSalle County. Il. Route 179 makes a sharp turn from the north to the west in the middle of Dana and runs about 6 miles to the west before intersecting with Interstate Highway 39. The At & St Railroad also runs on an angle from the southwest to the northeast directly through the center of town. 
  
According to the book "Place Names of Illinois" by Edward Callary, Dana was established in the 1860s to early 1870s and was originally named Martin after one of the land owners named John Martin. The name of the town was changed to Conklin soon after, though no reason was provided. In 1873 the Chicago, Pekin, & Southwestern Railroad made its say through town. The town name was then changed to Dana in honor of the railroad's superintendent, Thomas Dana
     
The origin of the Dana school system is in need of research. The school system was probably initiated in the late 1800s / early 1900s. It is known that Dana supported its own school, which included a high school, through the 1948-49 school year. It was then, as with many small towns of that year, that Dana High School was closed. The students of the 1949-50 school year attended class in nearby Minonk. 
      
The students of Dana today still attend school in Minonk, now as part of the Fieldcrest School District. According to former student Kristi A. Terry, Dana's school building continued its use as a grade school for the Minonk-Dana-Rutland school district through 1978. In that year the Dana school was closed and the children bussed to Minonk to complete their education.
    
The High School building still stands at the south edge of town, a little run down, yet serving proudly as a reminder of Dana's great history. If you have information regarding the school please e-mail us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net . 
 
Dana High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                          late 1800s / early 1900s
Year closed:                           1949
Year last served as a school: 1978
Consolidated to:                     Minonk-Dana High School
School nickname:                   the "Demons" (possibly Devils)
School colors:                        Purple & Gold
School Fight Song:                 unavailable        

Dana High School Rear View
danahs3withgymwindowsatback.jpg
Gymnasium Windows on Left

Athletics
 
The Dana High School Demons competed in boys basketball and probably track and baseball as most small towns of its day. IHSA hardware was earned in basketball; however, there is no mention of any other sport on the site (www.ihsa.org). 
 
Boys Basketball 
 
The Dana Demons earned two IHSA District titles during their existence. Those years are listed below.  Unfortunately, the team records and coaches names are not available. We are hopeful an area fan or alum can provide further information regarding Dana's boys basketball program.
 
Some basketball scores involving Dana High School in the IHSA Tourney were located on a website titled "Illinois Postseason Basketball Scores." These scores are listed below.
 
1932-33      Wenona District Tournament                 Coach's name & record needed
                  1st Rd Lost to Long Point 33-18
                  Long Point won District Championship
 
1933-34      Wenona District Tournament                 Coach's name & record needed
                  1st Rd Lost to Tonica 25-16
                  Tonica lost in 2nd round
  
1934-35      Wenona District Tournament                 Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd Lost to Toluca 39-16
                   Tonica lost in 2nd round
   
1935-36      Wenona District Champs!                   Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd Beat Magnolia 27-16
                   Semi-final Beat Long Point
                   TItle Game Beat Lostant 28-21
                   Wenona Regional Tourney
                   1st Rd lost to Granville 25-12
                   Granville lost in title game
     
1936-37 through 1938-39 Postseason scores, record, and coaches' names needed
 
1939-40      Wenona District Champs                    Coach Lyle Lawson
                   Early Rd Scores Needed
                   Title Game Beat Wenona 36-33
                   Wenona Regional Tournament
                   1st Rd Beat Minonk 28-27
                   Semi-final lost to Granville 36-21
                   Granville beat Toluca in title game
  
1940-41      Wenona District Runner-Up                Coach Lyle Lawson
                   1st Rd Beat Magnolia 26-23
                   Semi-final Beat Long Point 30-26
                   Title Game lost to Sparland 29-23
   
1941-42      Wenona Regional Tournament               Coach's name & record needed
                   Dana did not compete in District tourney
                   Wenona Regional Scores
                   1st Rd Lost to Wenona 43-32
                   Wenona lost in title game
  
1942-43      Varna District Runner-Up                      Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd Beat Long Point 65-18
                   Semi-final Beat Rutland 33-29
                   Title Game lost to Lostant 36-31
 
1943-44      Postseason scores, record, and coaches' names needed.
 
1944-45      Varna District Tournament                     Coach's name & record needed
                    1st Rd Beat Tonica 39-31
                    Semi-final lost to Rutland 54-39
                    Rutland beat Varna in title game
  
1945-46      Varna District Tournament                     Coach's name & record needed
                   Semi-final Lost to Tonica 49-30
                   Tonica lost in title game
  
1946-47      Varna District Tournament                     Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd Beat Hennepin 58-24
                   2nd Rd Lost to Tonica 42-31
                   Long Point Beat Rutland I title game
      
1947-48      Varna District Tournament                     Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd lost to Sparland 52-50
                   Toluca beat Tonica in title game
   
1948-49       Varna District Tournament                     Coach's name & record needed
                   1st Rd Beat Tonica 39-32
                   **Semi-final lost to Long Point 48-31
                   Long Point won District title
 
**Last game played by Dana High School. Consolidated with Minonk High School in the Fall of 1949 to form Minonk-Dana High School.
  
Track & Field
 
It is a fact that Dana High School offered Track & Field. Though no IHSA hardware was won, one interesting story emerged recently. According to a Minonk-Dana graduate the Dana High School track team of the mid-1940s consisted of one athlete. His name was Gene O'Connell and it is believed in some meets he competed in every event (except relay races of course).
 
Girls Basketball
 
Dana High School also had girls basketball, at least through the early 1920s. The photo below was submitted by Connie Cinnamon. It is a photo of the Dana "Hot Shots" girls basketball team of 1922-23. Connie's mother, Anna Swanberg Cinnamon, is seated in the front row in the center and is holding the basketball.
 

Dana HS Girls Basketball Team 1922-23
danahsgirlsbasketball192223dav.jpg
Submitted by Connie Cinnamon - Anna Swanberg Cinnamon Holding Ball

Memories
 
From Diane Crook:
 
"I'm enjoying your website which got me digging through an old box of clippings I inherited from my mother  She saved clippings of all the Dana Cagers games from when my dad, Gerald Clegg was center. I also have tournament flyers from the IHSA district tournaments for 1938, 1939, and 1942.  She filled in the scores and the winners. I will copy & send when I have a chance. There is an article about the Dana basketball banquet which was decorated in purple and gold which I think were the school's colors." 

Dana HS Class of 1924
danahsclassof1924dav.jpg
Submitted by Connie Cinnamon - Anna Swanberg Cinnamon in Front Row on Right

Need Your In-Put
 
The great stories of Dana High School and its many successes may be fading fast. We need your help to record them and share them with others before they are lost forever. If you have a photo of the school and/or other activities by the students please e-mail them to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net. You can also write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631