The History of Bone Gap High School
Bone Gap (population 272) is located in southeastern Illinois in the eastern portion of Edwards County.
There does not appear to be a major roadway leading into town. Edwards County Road 1 and County Road 1375 intersect at
Bone Gap. The Illinois Central Gulf Railroad runs through Bone Gap from north to south. A town of reference
in the area might be Lawrenceville located 25 miles northeast or Mt. Carmel located 12 miles to the east. Bone Gap was
originally called Bon Pas (good path). The name then evolved to Bon Gap (like Cumberland Gap), and eventually Bone Gap.
A history of the town from resident Doug Evans:
"Bone Gap was founded on the site of an old Indian encapement.It was situated about half a mile East
of the present site.There is evidence of a settlement in the area with arrowheads and pottery shards being found occasionally.
Also more modern "remains" being pieces of brick and old dinnerware.The name was supposedly chosen because of an abundance
of buffalo bones being found in a "gap" between 2 stands of trees.Thence the name "Bone Gap".Bon Pas is the name of the creek
about a mile east of the settlement.The town was moved to its present location when the railroad came through (which has since
The history of Bone Gap's school system is being sought. It is known that Bone Gap supported
its own high school in the early 1900s. It was after the 1947-48 school year that Bone Gap High School joined
a consolidation effort of several Edwards County schools. In 1948 a new school was established in Albion and named Edwards
County High School. The kids of Bone Gap to this day are a part of the Edwards County School District.
The fate of the Bone Gap School building and information about the school has been provided by current Bone
Gap Mayor Chris Kelsey:
"Chris Kelsey here, I am the current Mayor of Bone Gap, and President of the Bone Gap
Community Club. The old school still stands right across from my house. It is our understanding that it was
the first consolidated school in the State of Illinois. With it's opening in the late 1800s it closed 5 local one room
schools and consolidated them. A majority of the graduating class photos still hang in the building to this day.
The school stopped being a high school in the early 50s or late 40s and was a junior high until the
mid 60s. It remained a grade school until 1988. It was closed to consolidate a majority of the county into one
school. Today the Village of Bone Gap is seek grants and donations to convert the building into a museum of
education history to make each classroom a display for every decade from 1890 until 1990 to insure the children of tomorrow
understand how there parents and grandparents were educated. This is of course a tough battle, it is an old
building and we have very limited resources. Many old school artifacts are stored either in the old school, or in the
Restored Train Depot that I received a grant to restore in 2001. We have several newspaper articles and photos.
My grandfather, father, brothers sisters and myself graduated from the school. We have a school
reunion in Aug of each year to coincide with the Village Chowder.
The major use of the building is now a Haunted house that we run the last two weekends in October every
year, this is a big fund raiser for us as it brings in up to $5,000 each year."
Former student and current Bone Gap pastor Dave Rigg tells us that though the Bone Gap
High School technically closed in 1948, the school building continued to host the freshman class of Albion Edwards High School
through the late 1950s.
Bone Gap High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s
Year closed: 1948
Consolidated to: Edwards County High School (Albion)
School nickname: "Cardinals" ("Red Devils" until mid-1930s, possibly
Bulldogs" before that)
School colors: Red & White
School Fight Song: unavailable