Tolono High School

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Tolono High School - 1911
tolonohsrootswebdav.jpg - Champaign County, Il.

The History of Tolono High School
Tolono (population 2,700) is located in east-central Illinois about seven miles south of Champaign.  Tolono sits in the south-central portion of Champaign County on U.S. Route 45.  Two railroad lines cross in the heart of Tolono, the Illinois Central Gulf and the Norfolk & Western.  The Hackett Branch Creek flows through the southside of town. 
According to the web address the first settlement of Tolono Township in Champaign County was established in 1848.  The first school in this township was built in 1863.  The town of Tolono developed quickly after the Illnois Central Railroad built a line through town.  More on Tolono and its particulars can be read at the web address of   
We believe the residents of Tolono likely had a high school established by the late 1800s, though we currently cannot verify this.  Tolono High School served the residents and students of the town on a solo basis for at least five decades.  The late 1940s saw an immense consolidation push for the smaller school districts of Illinois.  Several towns and school districts south of Champaign, including the "Glory Days" high schools of Sadorus, Pesotum, Philo, and Sidney, discussed the possibility of consolidating during this time.  This effort was realized in either 1949 or 1950 with the creation of the Unity School District. 
The high school for the newly created district was located in Tolono.  Unity High School maintains a Tolono address to this day.
Tolono High School Quick Facts
Year opened:                              late 1800s
Year consolidated:                    1949 or 1950
Consolidated to:                        Unity School District (Tolono)
Tolono HS team nickname:     unavailable
Tolono HS team colors:            unavailable
School Fight Song:                     unavailable  
Tolono High School definitely offered the boys sports of baskeball, football, and track.  It is probable that baseball was offered as well.  Tolono High School team nickname, team colors, school fight song, team records, and coach's names are all items we would like to share on this page.
Boys Track & Field
The Tolono High School tracksters had two boys win medals at the IHSA State Track Meet.  One of those athletes, John "Rocky" Ryan, won the State Championship in the pole vault resulting in a TENTH place overall finish for his team in 1949! 
1936-37      Individual Medalist
                      Paul Meharry                 Discus             5TH Place
1948-49      Team Finished TENTH in STATE MEET Competition!!
                      Individual Medalist
                      John "Rocky" Ryan      Pole Vault       STATE CHAMPION!!
                       Final Team Standings
                       1)  LaGrange (Lyons)                          26 7/10  
                       2)  Oak Park (O.P.-River Forest)        21  
                       3)  Hinsdale (Twp.)                              14  
                       4)  Chicago (Phillips)                          10  
                       5)  Chicago (Hyde Park)                       9    
                             Collinsville                                         9   
                       7)  Benton                                                8  
                       8)  Peoria (Manual)                                7  
                       9)  Evanston (Twp.)                                6  
                     10)  TOLONO HIGH SCHOOL                 5  
                             Buffalo (Tri-City)                                5   
                             Chicago (DuSable)                          5   
                             Belleville (Twp.)                                5
Boys Basketball 
The Tolono basketball program won a total of three District titles.  Two of these titles were won when the District was inclusive of the bigger schools in the area.  Unfortunately the team records and coaches names of these and other great Tolono teams are not currently available.
1930-31                District Champions
1931-32                District Champions
1947-48                District Champions
Football appears to have been THEE sport at Tolono.  Setting the stage for today's successful program at Unity was the Tolono High School gridders of the 1940s.  Tolono High finished its last five football seasons as a solo school with a 47 - 0 record!!  The incredible run by the THS boys is listed below. 
1942-43       4  - 2                                                       Coach Leo Stine
1944-45       5  - 1 - 1                                                  Coach Dave Adams
1945-46     10  - 0                                                       Coach Dave Adams
1946-47       9  - 0                                                        Coach Dave Adams
1947-48     11 -  0                                                        Coach Dave Adams
1948-49     10 -  0                                                        Coach Guy Gardner
1949-50       7 -  0                                                        Coach Howard Barnes
The Tolono football program went an incredible 56 - 3 - 1 during this seven year span, an unbelievable .942 winning percentage!!
Seeking Your In-Put
If you have any further information you can offer regarding the town of Tolono and its former "solo" high school please complete a School Submission or Guest Commentary Form.  We are especially interested in a photo of the school building, gym, or championship teams.  You can also e-mail us at or write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.   60631