The History of West Union High School
West Union (population 288) is located in southeastern Illinois in the southeast corner
of Clark County. West Union is situated about 40 miles southeast of Charleston. The town is about five miles west of
the Illinois/Indiana border on Illinois Route 1 as it intersects with County Hwy 5. According to www.mapquest.com West Union is approximately six blocks from east to west and five blocks from north to south.
We believe that West Union once supported a high school of sort when we found the following passage
from the same Genealogy web site, at the address of http://genealogytrails.com/ill/clark/news/melrose_1916.html , On this particular page a simple remark was written in the Marshall Herald, Melrose News, on May
under stand the Harry Slusser will teach in the West Union high school term."
"The first West Union School was an old-wooden one room building in 1901.
Harry Drake was the teacher of the small school, A new school was built in 1912, Steve Drake
purchased the old school house and moved it a mile east of town. He then made a barn out of what once a school for the small
midwest area, The land where the new school was to be built was purchased from Benjamin Poorman in, It was
purchased for the amount of 3 hundred dollars by the School Trustees of Township 9 Range 11. Plans were being made to build
a new school Ground was broken soon afterward, work began on the two-story school house. The gravel for all the cement work
was dug from the basement. The bricks for the building were made at the local tile and brick factory.
Not much is to
be found on the exact time it was built or who the architect was. There is also no cornerstone at the West Union School House
to check the date when it was built, I have searched libraries, court houses, newspapers, Hutsonville High School, and talked
to several individuals to try and find more information about the school. There is no record of the construction of the school
house. It is sad because I would liked to have found more information regarding the school' s history.
The school is
located at the east end of Union Street. It is a two-story building with a steam-heating system located in the basement. George
Yargus was the first janitor and he was in charge of taking care of the boiler which was fired by coal. It is also
the very first bell tower located m West Union. In the early 1920's they also had a two-year high school. I learned there
was high school equivalent exams needed to take to enter high school. The high school is located upstairs in the southeast
room. The remaining portion of the upstairs was used for the grade school, there were also class rooms located in the basement,
one room was also used for the high school. The two-year high school closed in 1926, but the grade school remained for several
years after that.
In those days, the schools didn't have gymnasiums. True Thompson, a student there
in 1922, said they played all of their basketball games above Bill Marvin's Grocery Store, located on Main
Street in West Union. He also said there was a steel post right it in the middle of the room. On one occasion he can remember
one of the basketball players running into the steel post. He wasn't hurl, but sure had a headache. They played several schools
but doesn't remember their record, but he knew they won against the West York Team. Some men started going up there to play
basketball, which got a little too noisy and they also knocked down some plaster, so everyone had to quit playing up there.
They then had to play their games outside. The School team was the West Union Wildcats and their colors were purple and gold."
West Union High School Quick Facts
Consolidated to: Marshall
West Union HS team nickname: "Wildcats"
West Union HS team colors:
Purple & Gold
School Fight Song: