Norris City High School "Cardinals"

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Norris City High School
norriscityhs1949dav.jpg
Submitted by Alice Ann (Capen) Stephens

The History of Norris City High School
 
Norris City (population 1,057) is located in southeastern Illinois about 30 miles east of Benton and 10 miles southwest of Carmi.  Norris City sits quietly in the southwest corner of White County 15 miles west of the Indiana state line.  U.S. Route 45 and Illinois Route 1 intersect just south of Norris City.  The Conrail and Prairie Trunk Railroads also intersects on Norris City's south side.  A branch of the Bear Creek flows through the north side of town.
 
The history of the town of Norris City and its former "solo" school system are in need of research.  We believe that Norris City residents probably had a high school in place by the late 1800s.  We further believe that Norris City consolidated its educational resources with its neighbor to the south, Omaha, in the mid to late 1940s.  The new district was named the Norris City-Omaha School District.
 
The following memories are provided by Alice Ann (Capen) Stephens:
 
"I graduated from Norris City High School in 1949 after having attended Norris City Elementary downstairs in the same old building.  When I attended the lower grades, there were no indoor restrooms, but  an outdoor one for the boys & another for the girls.  By the 1950 school year the construction on a new separate "Norris City Community Unit High School"  was completed & opened across the street from where I lived at the time.  I have attached a picture of the old school as it looked in 1949 (see above).  The Elementary school was downstairs.  The High School was upstairs as well as in the building addition shown at the right side of the picture.  The gymnasium was also in this addition.  Humbert J Phelps was the Principal of the High School and F E Welch was principal of the Elementary School. The old Grade-High School building, I believe, is now the location of the school in the area for Special Education high school students that are bussed in from a wide area of White County.  My brother, Moe Capen,  still lives in Norris City and has helped me with much of this information."
 
The high school for the new District (Norris City-Omaha)  remained in Norris City.  This effort lasted until Enfield joined them in 1985 creating the current Norris City-Omaha-Enfield School District.
 
Norris City High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                             late 1800s
Year consolidated:                     mid to late 1940s
Consolidated to:                         Norris City-Omaha High School 
Norris City HS team nickname:   "Cardinals"
Norris City HS team colors:        Red & White
School Fight Song:                    unavailable   
Athletics
 
The Norris City High School boys competed in basketball and track for certain. We are confident that baseball was offered as well.  Team nickname, colors, fight song, team records, and coach's names are all items we are seeking.  
 
Boys Basketball
 
The Norris City High School boys basketball team won a Regional Championship in 1940 and earned the right to play in the Sectional as one of the top 32 teams in Illinois!  Unfortunately this is the extent of the information we currently have available on the NCHS boys basketball program. 
 
1939-40    19 - 9        Regional Champions          (Coach's name unavailable)
 
Boys Track & Field
 
Two individuals won medals at the IHSA State Track Meet.  A gentleman with the last name of Cole won medals in consecutive years in the high jumpThomas Edwards was crowned STATE CHAMPION in the high jump as well.  
 
1930-31   Individual Medalist    Kenneth Cole         High Jump       4TH Place
1931-32   Individual Medalist    Kenneth Cole         High Jump       5TH Place
 
1937-38   Individual Medalist    Thomas Edwards   High Jump       STATE CHAMPION!!
 
From Alice Stephens:
 
"The person  listed for Norris city under "Track & Field"  named "Kenneth Cole" on your web site later became a Coach at the High School.  He graduated from Norris City High in 1932."
 
Need Your Assistance
 
If you have any information to share regarding the history of Norris City and its former "solo" high school please write to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  You can also write to us at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.        60631