Peoria County, Illinois Genealogy Trails
Some Peoria High School History
This page closes the Faculty section, a group of 68 capable teachers, of whom we are justly proud. Our faculty changes considerably from time to time; only this year Peoria High had acquired ten new instructors. Miss Lamberton came to us this year, and is in the Commercial Department. Mr. Shields, Mr. Shepherd, and Mr. Stevens are all new instructors. Miss Smiley took the place of Miss Sankey, who left us for another field of work, and Mr. Gobble replaced Mr. Damon, who is now principal of the Lincoln school here in Peoria. Miss Oekel and Miss Garland were both married during the summer months; Miss Perdew is teaching Spanish in Miss Oekel's place, while Mr. Williams is assuming Miss Garland's work. Miss O'Reilly, our music instructor, left during the first semester to become Mrs. Bernard Seiler. Her place is being adequately filled by Miss Elizabeth Randall. Our girls' gymnasium teachers, Miss Beulah Philpot, was the last to leave us; she departed at the end of the first semester for California, where she is taking a special course of study. Mrs. Haynes is filling this vacancy.
How very different from our present beautiful High School the first quaint building bearing the name of old P.H.S. must have been! Located on the second floor of a buildling recently destroyed to make room for a new and better structure, Peoria's first high school boasted of a principal and two assistants, who administered learning to 60 students. At that time, Peoria was a thriving town of 20,000 population, and claimed the honor of being one of fewer than 50 cities in the United States that supported a public high school One can easily imagine how proud Peorians must have been of their first high school and the first class of four members, graduated from that school in 1858.
The next home of our high school was the basement of the Methodist Church, at the corner of Madison and Fulton Streets. This was only a temporary arrangement, due to the crowded conditions of the school
In 1862 a new building on Fisher Street was ready for occupancy. This stood on the site of the present Lincoln School, and was considered quite commodious in its time. It proved adequate for twenty years, but then, by 1884, it had outlived its usefulness, and the building on the corner of Monroe and Fayette Streets, now the headquarters of the Board of Education, was erected. The parents of many of the present members of our student body can remember the "Good Old Days" in this building. For 32 years this was the seat of advanced learning in our city.
Then, in 1916, our present splendid building was erected. We fel that our find school is a fitting culmination for Peoria High's 70 years of existence. Not only has the building grown, but the student body has increased immeasurably. We now have enrolled over 1,800 students, who are being instructed in the most enlarged and enriched courses of study by a well-organized body of teachers.
[1930 Peoria High School Crest, contributed by Karen Seeman]
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