The History of Ladd High School
Ladd (population 1,313) is located in north-central Illinois in the southeast portion of
Bureau County. Ladd is located on Illinois Route 89 approximately 1 mile north Interstate Highway 80. Two railroad
lines, the Burlington Northern & Sante Fe and the Illinois Railnet Inc., travel to and from Ladd. For a point of
reference, Ladd is approximately 4 miles northwest of the LaSalle/Peru metropolitan area.
The town of Ladd was incorporated in 1890. It began as a mining community in the late 1880s. The
town was named after George Ladd, an early businessman of the village. The Ladd's population
quickly grew and reached into the 2000s by the early 1920s. The mine closed, however, in 1924. This ended the
time of growth for the village. Ladd has maintained its current population of approximately 1,300 residents for several
We first became aware that the Ladd school system offered high school courses through a photo
on the web page of http://www.genealogytrails.com/ill/bureau/Villages/ladd/village.html . This was due to the excellent research conducted by Roberta VanBriesen. This
page includes a photo of two school buildings, one of which is identified as "High School Ladd Illinois".
An excellent history of the Ladd School system and Ladd High School was provided
to us below by Jim Piacenti.
"On April 30, 1864, the District No. 8 School was organized
and a one room schoolhouse was built about a half mile north of present day Ladd. It was known as the Borger School
because it was on land owned by Irwin Borger. In the spring of 1888, a sinking crew came to the area to sink a
coal mine shaft. It took the crew a year and a half and six attempts at sinking a shaft but they were finally successful
on December 31, 1889. Citizens of the Village voted to incorporate on June 7, 1890, and it was around this time the
Borger School was moved to the present day school grounds. A two-story four room school building was also built on the
school grounds at this time and a west wing was added to it shortly after that. It is the building on the right in this
photo. High school classes were taught in one room of this wooden building. I have a photo of one of the "High
Room" classes taken in front of this building in 1896. The brick building on the left was built in 1909 for $11,000.00.
It was a two-story four room school that housed the the seventh and eighth grades along with a two year high school.
The high school I believe was short lived with students going to Hall Township High School in Spring Valley when it was built
in 1914. Classes continued in both of the Ladd school buildings. In the late 1930s as a WPA project the Ladd High
School building was added onto and the wooden building was razed.
I do believe that the High School was closed around
1914 even though I have yet to find a document that states the exact date that it closed. The reason I think that
is because of the sources I used in writing the Ladd history book. I have those sources below. Also when I was
researching for the Ladd history book I talked to some of the older residents of Ladd and no one remembered the Ladd High
School. I think I would've been able to find someone that remembered it had it closed in the late 1930s or early 1940s.
the History of Ladd that was written in 1935 by the grade school students under the direction of Dan Burne
Jones, it states that in 1908: "The men (Board of Education) decided to bond the district for the sum of $11,000.00 and the
money was used to construct the present brick building which housed the seventh and eighth grades and the High school."
The important thing here is that it states "housed" and not houses. The high school isn't mentioned again in that book.
Although the grade school is mentioned quite a bit.
The 1940 souvenir booklet from the 50th Anniversary doesn't mention
the High School at all only that the present brick building was built after 1908 for $11,000.00.
The 1965 souvenir
booklet from the 75th Anniversary states that after the brick building was constructed in 1908: "The seventh and eighth grade
pupils were transferred to the new structure, and a two year High School and Business Course was instituted and taught in
the new brick building before Hall High School came into existence."
If you have any further information regarding Ladd High School please contact us via the means listed at
the bottom of this page.
Ladd High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1909
Year closed: 1914
Consolidated to: Hall Township High School (Spring Valley)
Ladd HS nickname: unavailable
Team uniform colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable