SCHOOL DAYS
North Dixon School Illinois

The History of North Dixon High School

Dixon, Illinois (population 16,000) is located along the Rock River in Lee County in Northwestern Illinois. Illinois Routes 2, 38, 26 as well as U.S. Route 52 and Interstate 88 all lead you to the "Petunia Capital of the World". The "Overland Route" of the Union Pacific railroad runs through the south part of town and the Illinois Central once did.

The city is located on both sides of the Rock River, settled on the North side and the South side. The first school in Dixon was built in 1837, which served both sides of the river by 1845. In 1858, a school which included a high school was built for both sides of the river, which lasted until 1868 when the school split into two. North and south schools were built by then, each having their own high school. In 1881, Dixon North High School enrollment was around 25 students. A three-story building was built for the North school in 1868, with a newer building built in 1900. The high school on Dixon's South side was organized in the 1868, and that school was called Dixon High School - being the same school still in existance today. When the Dixon High School building burned to the ground in 1907, their students attended the North Dixon school until 1909.

Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, lived here during the 1920s and 1930s. He went to school first at the Dixon School from 1920 to 1923 and then moved from his famous "boyhood home" to a house just north of the present-day Dixon High School and graduated from North Dixon High School in 1928. Reagan, who also went on to star in Hollywood and become the Governor of California, visited his hometown in 1984 and 1990 returning to his former high schools to pay a visit. Reagan was just one of many current-era presidents who were proud to come from their school system!

In 1918, the school districts of North Dixon and Dixon merged but each side kept their own high school. It wasn't until the December of 1929 when the high schools combined and are now housed in the large structure overlooking the Rock River on the northwest corner of Peoria Avenue and Lincoln Statue Drive. Although the high school is located on the north side of the river, the original school district was located in the south part of Dixon before being moved to a better location.

The former North Dixon High School has been torn down to make way for a retirement home. It was located on the 600 block of North Ottawa Avenue.

North Dixon High School "Quick Facts":
Year opened: 1900
Year closed: 1929
School Mascot: Unknown
School Song: Unknown
School Colors: Black and Gold ??

Athletics
North Dixon High School didn't win any IHSA team hardware. However, they have an interesting athletic history. North Dixon fielded teams in football, basketball and track. Sometime before the school districts combined, the sports programs began to co-op.

Site visitor Michael Lawton had the following to contribute about the athletic programs of the Dixon schools:

"The first report of both schools playing football was in 1897. Up through 1912, most of the time the two schools fielded seperate athletic teams and played seperate schedules, even including a game against each other. However, in some years (1898, 1906, 1907, 1910) the schools combined forces and called themselves "Dixon Union High School". Beginning in 1912, the two schools combined once and for all and the team was simply known from then on as Dixon High School."

We're seeking more information as far as win-loss records, trophies and coaches are concerned.

FOOTBALL
North Dixon's football history can date back to 1897. By the late 1920s, when Reagan was in school, the football programs officially combined into one. They were supposed to have an interesting rivalry with Dixon while their programs were still seperate.

According to Lawton, the football team from 1901 had a record of 6-1 with their only loss to the much larger Rockford High School 28-0. On Thanksgiving Day in 1905 in front of a huge crowd, North Dixon played Dixon to a 0-0 tie. It would be the last time the two high schools from Dixon would play each other.

BASKETBALL
In the early 1900s, North Dixon fielded their first Basketball team. They also had interesting battles with Dixon. They played each other as late as the 1918-19 season, a game that Dixon won. In the 1919 postseason, North Dixon lost to Morrison 18-14 in the District tournament.

TRACK
North Dixon High School was fortunate to have one of their athletes stand out amongst Illinois' best in Track and Field. F.E. Lord was the state champion in the 220-yard hurdles in 1905.

North Dixon High School Individual Placer

F.E. LORD 220-yard Hurdles STATE CHAMPION!!

ILLINOIS HIGH SCHOOL
Glory Days

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