The History of Elsah High School
Elsah (population 635) is located in southeastern Illinois about 15 miles north of St. Louis, Mo.
Elsah sits in far south-central Jersey County along the banks of the mighty Mississippi River. Scenic Illinois
Route 100 is the main roadway that leads you to Elsah. County Highway 23 also takes you to and from town.
In most cases the railroad is what helped make small towns in early Illinois history. However in Elsah's case, the railroad
made use of the river a less necessary means of transportation. Thus Elsah's importance diminished in the late
1800s due to the railway boom.
The town of Elsah is one of great history and early-American architecture. The following website
addresses all have a brief history of Elsah:
It is agreed that Elsah got its start in the early 1850s by a man named James Semple. Mr. Semple, a popular
man of the area, bought the land where Elsah is located and offered free lots to any person who would build their house from
stones purchased from the quarry he owned. Mr. Semple named the town Elsah after the last town he saw as he left Scotland
The history of the former school system is not as well documented.as that of the town itself.
The only mention of the school in any of the websites is at http://www.elsah.org/tour/tour3.html. This small paragraph and photo of the town's former school building states:
"James Semple presented the stone school building to his new village in 1857 it is reported to have cost
$2,833. Throughout the nineteenth century both the upper and lower rooms were filled to capacity. The school was also a cultural
center for the village since the pupils often performed in dramatic or musical entertainments to help furnish the building.
It now houses the Village Board meeting room, the Civic Center and the public rest rooms."
Is this the only school building ever utilized in Elsah? We believe that high school courses were offered
at the school for a short period of time. A list of scores from the IHSA District basketball tournaments in the
early 1940s listed a game involving the high school of "Elsa". We believe this to be the same town of
Elsah, only without the final "h".
The only fact we know from here is that the children of Elsah are bussed to Jerseyville each day to
attend all grades of school. We know that Jerseyville High School became Jersey Community High School in 1935, accepting
students from all over the Jersey County area. Our guess is that Elsah High School became a part of Jersey Community
High School in the late 1940s.
Elsah High School Quick Facts
Jersey Community High School (Jerseyville)
Elsah HS team nickname: unavailable
Elsah HS team colors: unavailable
Elsah HS School Fight Song: unavailable