Ridge Farm High School "Bulldogs"

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Ridge Farm Township High School
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Courtesy of Virginia Antrim Smitley

Ridge Farm Grade School
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Ridge Farm, Illinois

The History of Ridge Farm High School 
 
Ridge Farm (population 912) is located in far eastern-central Illinois. Ridge Farm is situated along U.S. Route 150 about 18 miles south of Danville.  The town is nestled in the southeast corner of Vermillion County about five miles west of the Indiana/Illinois border. Two railroad lines intersect on the northwest side of town, the Conrail and the Norfolk & Western.
 
An 1854 map of Edgar County, Illinois, clearly shows the town of Ridge Farm, already established, to the north, in Vermillion County.  The history of the town and its educational system is in need of research.  Ridge Farm High School was established in 1890. It served the communtiy for for nearly 100 years.  In the mid 1980s the towns of Georgetown and Ridge Farm began consolidation talks. Their efforts became a reality in the summer of 1986 with the creation of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm School District.
 
The following memories and information was supplied by RFHS Class of 1957 alum Virginia Antrim Smitley:
 
  "I was born near Ridge Farm, raised in the community, and attended my 12 years of school in the community.  The first eight years were in the grade school building.  Students who graduated when on to high school in the building across town.  I graduated from high school in 1957. The high school building was torn down several years ago to make room for the new elementary school which is part of the Georgetown-Ridge Farm school district.
 
  Each year the weekend before Memorial Day, the Ridge Farm Alumni Association holds a banquet for the alumni of this school system.  The banquet is held in the old gym that was not torn down when the high school building was demolished.  The Gym was added to the old high school in the mid-1950s.  The children attending school in the new building still use the gym and the classrooms that were added to the old school.
 
My children attended schoolin the Ridge Farm School system and were a part of the transition made to the consolidated school system.  They missed the uniqueness of a small school and the friendships that are easily made with a smaller system.  Byt, as we know, time changes everything.
 
Ridge Farm School District was a good district to attend.  The people there took pride in theier sports and musical programs.  Not many schools offer what this school did being as small as it was."   
 
The high school for the new district is located in Georgetown. The original high school building in Ridge Farm has been razed.  The gymnasium is used by the students of the new grade school (K - 4) built on the old high school grounds.
 
Ridge Farm High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                         1890
Year closed:                          1986
Consolidated to:                     Georgetown-Ridge Farm High School
School building today:             Torn down...gym still standing
School nickname:                   the "Bulldogs"
School colors:                        Purple & Gold
School Fight Song:                 "Cheer, Cheer for Old Ridge Farm High" 
                                             sung to the Notre Dame University Fight Song Tune
                                                            Click the play button below left and slide the play bar to the middle  

Ridge Farm Grade School & Gymnasium
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Ridge Farm Grade School Gymnasium
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Click Photo for Larger Version

Athletics
 
The Ridge Farm Bulldogs had many successful seasons throughout their storied history.  The boys competed in basketball, track, and football while the girls competed in volleyball, basketball, and track.  Other sports may have been offered as well.  Conference affiliation, championship teams, and great coaches are all being sought.
 
Boys Track & Field
 
The Ridge Farm boys tracksters of the 1910s and 1920s were a very competitive group. The boys of this era brought home a total of nine individual medals.  The team of 1912-13 finished FOURTH at the State Track Meet!!  This was accomplished in a one-class format! All of the points for tihis finish were earned by an athlete named Henderson.   The medal winners and team standings are listed below.
 
1912-13      Team Finished FOURTH at the STATE TRACK Meet!!
 
                  Individual Medalist
                  ??  Henderson            1 Mile Run              STATE CHAMPION!!
                                                     880 Yard Run          2ND Place
 
                  Final Team Standings
                  1.)  Oak Park-River Forest HS            34
                  2.)  Chicago University HS                 29  
                  3.)  Raymond HS                              12
                  4.)  RIDGE FARM HIGH SCHOOL     10
                  4.)  McLean HS                                10
                  6.)  LaGrange Lyons HS                     7
                  7.)  Springfield HS                              6
                  7.)  Roodhouse HS                             6
                  9.)  Harvey, Sullivan, Rock Island, Virginia, & Oregon all tied with 5
 
1913-14B   Individual Medalist
                 ?? Fletcher              High Jump                  STATE CHAMPION!!
1914-15B   Individual Medalist
                 ?? Fletcher              220 Yard Dash             3RD Place
1921-22B   Individual Medalist
                 ?? Spurlock             Shot Put                      2ND Place 
1922-23B   Individual Medalist
                 ?? Pugh                   Long Jump                 4TH Place
1923-24B   Individual Medalists
                 ?? P. Beauchamp    100 Yard Dash             5TH Place
                 ?? Busby                  440 Yard Dash             3RD Place
1925-26     Individual Medalist
                 P. Beauchamp         100 Yard Dash             5TH Place
 
Girls Basketball
 
The Lady Bulldogs basketball program brought home a Regional Championship in the early 1980s.  Unfortunately the team records and coach's names of these and other great girls basketball teams are not currently available. 
 
1982-83         Regional Championship                Coach Robert Knight
 
Boys Basketball
 
The boys also had some great teams in their history.  The Bulldogs of the late 1940s and 1950s were said to be very competitive.  The 1960s saw some great teams as well, including two District titles.  The records that are available are listed.  Coach Keith Baldwin had some real nice success in the 1960s as well and he wold go on to have a career coaching record of 476-233 until retiring at Watseka in 1991.   
 
1960-61               District Champions
1962-63               District Champions
1965-66   14 - 11                                      Coach Keith Baldwin
1966-67   21 - 7                                        Coach Keith Baldwin
1967-68   14 - 11                                      Coach Jim Miglin
1968-69   26 - 3                                        Coach Keith Baldwin
1969-70   17 - 7                                        Coach Keith Baldwin
 
Girls Volleyball
 
The Lady Bulldog netters finished out the school's history with a bang.  The program won three straight Regional titles including one in the school's final solo season.  Coach Donny Hackler led the led the Lady Bulldogs through their final four incredible seasons, allowing the Ridge Farm volleyball program to go out on top! 
 
1983-84             Regional Champions            Coach Donny Hackler
1984-85             Regional Champions            Coach Donny Hackler
1985-86             Regional Champions            Coach Donny Hackler
 
Football
 
The football teams of the 1950s were said to have had winning records each year, perhaps even a conference championship or more.  More information is needed on the team records and coaches names of these teams.  Some of the better team records and accomplishments are provided by the research of Tom Sikorski.
 
1953  6-0-1       Independent                                              Coach Juby Parke
1955  3-3           Initial season in East Central Conference    Coach Juby Parke
1956  4-2-1       3rd place East Central Conference              Coach Juby Parke
1957  7-1           East Central Conference Champs          Coach Juby Parke
1958  8-0           East Central Conference Champs          Coach Jim Clark
1960  7-1           East Central Conference Champs          Coach Jim Fredenberger
1961  7-1           2nd place East Central Conference            Coach Jim Fredenberger
1962  8-0           East Central Conference Champs          Coach Ken Calhoun
1963  5-3                                                                         Coach Tom Jenkins
1967                                                                                Coach Dale Miller
1970  4-4                                                                         Coach Mike Wood
1973  4-4-1                                                                      Coach Joe Stokes
1974  5-3                                                                         Coach Joe Stokes
1984  5-3            3rd place East Okaw Conference              Coach Tom Magruder
 
Ridge Farm last independently fielded a football team in 1985.  Last win was 18-16 over Newman that year 
 
Notable Players
 
*Rusty Rumple - set Ridge Farm records for passing and points in bassketball as well as track & field records.
*Donny Hackler - Set Ridge Farm track & field records.
*Ronny Farris - Set Ridge Farm track & field records.
*Don Farris -  Set Ridge Farm track & field records.
*Keith Rigdon - All-state center in 1965
 
Memories
 
From Kraig Rigdon.
 
"I was a member of the last class to attend Ridge Farm High School. I grew up there and played sports. I can provide a lot of info about the sports and coaches. I also have many pictures of the old High School. My father, Keith Rigdon, was a member of the 1965 Football team and was named to the Little All-State Team as a Center. Other notable athletes included Steve Spesard who broke the state single game scoring record with 63 in one game, before there was a 3 point line. He was named all-county, all-conference, and earned all-state honors."  
 
Seeking More Information
 
If you have any further information to add regarding the many successes of Ridge Farm High School, especdially a photo of the old high school building, please e-mail us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  You can also write to us via real mail at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago,  Il.   60631  

Ridge Farm Grade School Rear View
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