(Milton) East Pike High School "Panthers"

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Milton High School Building - 2007
miltonhsbldgdav.jpg
Photo Taken by Dennis Downey

East Pike Ag Shop
miltoneastpikehsagshopdav.jpg
Submitted by Patrick Kinn

The History of East Pike High School
 
Milton (population 274) is located in lower-western Illinois about 30 miles southwest of Jacksonville and eight miles southeast of Pittsfield.  The town was platted in the eastern portion of Pike County about three miles west of the Illinois River. For more information on Milton click on this address: http://www.pikeil.org/communities/milton.html
 
Pearl (population 187) is located in lower western Illinois in the southeast corner of Pike County. Pearl is located on the banks of the Illinois River. About eight miles of roadway known as Illinois Route 100 connects the two towns.  For more information on Pearl check out: http://www.pikeil.org/communities/pearl.html .
 
The two towns supported their own high schools throughout the first half of the 1900s.  In the early 1950s the residents agreed to combine their efforts into one school district.  In 1955 this effort was realized with the creation of the East Pike School District. 
 
East Pike High School was located in Milton.  We believe that a grade school remained in Pearl as well.  The school system was solid for nearly 25 years.  However it was decided in 1979 that the District would be dissolved.  East Pike was a great school district and asset to the area. Its loss, as with nearly all of the smaller towns on this website, had a tough effect in many ways on the towns of Milton and Pearl.   East Pike High School Class of 1979 alum Joy Kern has these memories of EPHS:
 
     "Milton High School closed in 1955, the same year that Pearl High School,(located 8 miles south) closed.  The two schools combined and became the East Pike Panthers. My Grandfather Lyndell Bliss Kern graduated from Milton High School in 1930.   He went on to become a coach and P.E. teacher in the North Green area. Now for some irony, my father Johnie Rae Kern was in the last class to graduate from Milton High School, my mother Jean Johnson Kern was in the last graduating class from Pearl High School and myself, Joy Rachelle Kern was in the last class to graduate from East Pike High School. 
     East Pike High School closed in 1979.  Students now go to Pikeland Unit 10.  In 1976 East Pike was told that if a new "Ag" shop could be built at the expense of the town we could keep the school open. The town did just that. Sadly, 4 years later, the school was closed anyway. The "ag" shop is now used to store much of the town's equipement.  The school building is still standing but is in a bad state of disrepair. 
     Milton lost more than just their school when the building was closed.  Many of the businesses were affected as well.  Today there is a cafe where the old Bisel Grocery store was.  The entire north side of the square has been razed.  The bandstand does still stand and has been refurbished although I am not sure of the year.  East Pike High School may be a thing of the past but I personally will always have the pride of the East Pike Panthers!" 
 
The alumni of East Pike High School live on!  Mary Reel tells us technology provides a place for the Panther faithful to keep in contact.  Check out this Facebook address and enjoy.... http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/East-Pike-High-School/355972920864
  
The students of Pearl and Milton now attend school in Pittsfield.  Dale Summers tells us the East Pike High School building and the Milton Grade School building were razed in 2007.
 
East Pike High School Quick Facts
 
Year opened:                          1955
Year closed:                           1979
Consolidated to:                      Pittsfield High School
East Pike HS team nickname:  the "Panthers"
East Pike HS team colors:       Black & Gold
School Fight Song:                  "On Old East Pike"
                                                             University of Wisconsin Fight Song Tune   

Milton East Pike High School - Gymnasium on Left
miltoneastpikehsdav.jpg
Submitted by Patrick Kinn

Athletics
 
The East Pike Panthers and Lady Panthers competed in basketball.  Baseball, track, and softball were offered as well. Though the teams did not win any IHSA hardware, there were some very competitive teams during the 24 years the school was open. We are in need of team records and coach's names of the better East Pike Panther teams.
 
We do know that the coach of the Panther boys teams during the 1968-69 season was coach Larry CopesCoach Copes led the boys in basketball, baseball, and track that year, possibly many other years as well.  The hardwood court boys of 1968-69 did not fair well in victories (2 - 21) however they were short on numbers that year with only one senior on the squad.  The Panthers and Coach Copes were looking forward to the next couple of years of competition.
 
1955-56   21 - 7     Pike County Tourney Champs      Coach George Lemons
                              Pittsfield Regional Tournament
                              1st Rd Beat Griggsville 58-47
                              Semi-final lost to Winchester 51-44
                              Pleasant Hill beat Winchester in title game
 
1956-57                 Meredosia District Runner-Up       Coach George Lemons
                              Semi-final Beat Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 74-40
                              Title Game lost to Meredosia 56-51

Milton East Pike Panthers 1956-57
miltoneastpike1957bballteamdav.jpg
Photo Submitted by Judy Hurdle

Photo Above - Back Row; Coach George Lemons, Leonard Wade, Charles Fisher, Everet Lane, Don Ranft, Jesse Smart, Howard Thurman, Manager Virgil Dale Carter
Photo Above - Front Row: Bill Thurman, Gale Boren, Phil Hoover, Dick Turner, Archie Davis, Ron Hayden

1957-58      Postseason scores and record needed.          Coach George Lemons
 
1958-59                 Pittsfield Regional Tournament            Coach George Lemons
                              1st Rd lost to Brown County 68-64
                              Brown County beat Pleasant Hill in title game
 
1959-60                 Chambersburg District Runner-Up   Coach George Lemons
                              1st Rd Beat Chambersburg 73-58
                              Semi-final Beat Industry 63-52
                              Title Game lost to Illini Bluffs 99-53
 
1960-61                 Meredosia District Tournament            Coach George Lemons
                              Semi-final lost to Meredosia 59-50
                              Bluffs Beat Meredosia in title game
 
1961-62                 Meredosia District Tournament            Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final lost to Meredosia 78-64
                              Bluffs Beat Meredosia in title game
  
1962-63                 Meredosia District Tournament            Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final lost to Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 56-51
                              Meredosia beat St. Mary's in title game
 
1963-64        Postseason, scores, record, and coach's name needed.
 
1964-65                 Illini Bluffs District Runner-Up          Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final Beat Illini Bluffs 58-57
                              Title Game lost to Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 51-47
 
1965-66                 Illini Bluffs District Runner-Up          Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final Beat Perry 63-36
                              Title Game lost to Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 63-51
 
1966-67                 Meredosia District Runner-Up           Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final Beat Meredosia 78-61
                              Title Game lost to Perry 49-48
 
1967-68                 Griggsville District Runner-Up          Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd Beat Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 71-47
                              Semi-final Beat Griggsvilole 66-62 (2 O/Ts)
                              Title Game lost to Concord Triopia 56-33
  
1968-69     2 - 21   Meredosia District Tournament            Coach Larry Copes
                              1st Rd lost to Illini Bluffs
                              Triopia Beat Bluffs in title game
 
1969-70                 Meredosia District Tournament            Coach's name & record needed
                              Semi-final lost to Mt. Sterling St. Mary's 56-51
                              Triopia beat Illini Bluffs in title game

1970-71                 Meredosia District Tournament            Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Illini Bluffs 59-54
                              Griggsville beat Triopia in title game 
 
1971-72                 Pittsfield Class 'A' Regional                  Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Perry 71-62
                              Pittsfield beat Winchester in title game
 
1972-73                 Pittsfield Class 'A' Regional                  Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Meredosia 73-27
                              Winchester beat Pittsfield in title game
 
1973-74                 Pittsfield Class 'A' Regional                  Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Griggsville 70-55
                              Winchester beat Griggsville in title game
 
1974-75                 Griggsville Class 'A' Regional               Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Pittsfield 67-54
                              Pittsfield beat Winchester in title game
  
1975-76                 Pittsfield Class 'A' Regional                  Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Griggsville 72-29
                              Griggsville beat Pittsfield in title game
 
1976-77                 Griggsville Class 'A' Regional               Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Griggsville 70-38
                              Pittsfield beat Griggsville in title game
 
1977-78                 Pittsfield Class 'A' Regional                  Coach's name & record needed
                              1st Rd lost to Barry 77-54
                              Pittsfield beat Pleasant Hill in title game
 
1978-79                 White Hall Class 'A' Regional               Coach's name & record needed
                              **1st Rd lost to WH North Greene 83-54
                              Pittsfield beat North Green in title game
**Final boys basketball game for Milton East Pike High School.
 

Basketball memories:
 
**From William M. (Bill) Thurmon (Class of 1957):
 
"I was a Sophomore and a starting guard on the Pearl High School that in 54-55 went 17- 6.   Our coach was George Lemons and he was a former graduate of Milton High School.  When the two schools combined, George became the basketball coach at East Pike High School.  Our first year of basketball in the Pike County Conference, East Pike won the conference basketball championship in a thrilling game against Hardin, Illinois in Griggsville, Illinois.  We went 21 - 7 that year."
 
Activities and Memories
 
From Joy Kern:
 
"Members of G.A.A, (Girls Athletic Asso.) went by bus every Wednesday evening after school to go bowling.  That was always alot of fun.  The F.H.A. (Future Homemakers of America) held a dance every year which was the Sweetheart Ball.  Every spring the Juniors hosted prom for the seniors.  We had no football team so we never had a Homecoming.  The F.F.A. (Future Farmers of America) held a "slave auction" every year and hired out to area farmers for work that needed done.  This was a fund raiser and always a great success. 
 
In the fall the entire school got involved in a "Harvest Festival".  There was a  soup supper along with carnival type games, a cake walk,  ending with a crowning of the King and Queen.  There were 2 girls chosen from the 1st grade to be flower girls.  They had matching dresses and the whole court followed them in. 
 
One thing that always seemed especially important were the small class sizes.  The class of 1979 was the last class to graduate from East Pike High School and we had around 30 seniors that year."
 
Need Your Assistance
 
If you have any further information you would like to share regarding the East Pike High School experience please write to us at ihsgdwebsite@comcast.net.  All information is welcome. Special thank you to Joy Kern for her assistance in making sure that the Panthers are back on the prowl.  You can mail items to us as well at:
 
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il.  60631

Milton East Pike Basketball Program 1961
miltoneastpike1961bballprogramdav.jpg
Submitted By Judy Hurdle

Milton East Pike Basketball Game Program 1961
miltoneastpikeprogramdav.jpg
Submitted by Judy Hurdle