The History of Bureau Township High School
Bureau Township High School was located in a true country setting. As of the writing of this
page, it is only known that Bureau Township High School was located on a country road between Wyanet and Walnut in central
Bureau County. This would place the school building about 10 miles northwest of Princeton.
The following history information regarding the former Bureau Township High School was provided by alum
"Six, one-room schools consolidated to form the Bureau Township Consolidated School. The first class
graduated in 1921 with 6 in the class. The last class graduated in the spring of 1962 with 6 in the class. A total
of 319 students graduated during the years the school was in existence."
The "new" Bureau Township school was featured in a Illinois schools journal from 1920.
Excerpts from the article are as follows:
The Bureau Township Schoools are situated in the rural section nine miles northwest of Princeton, and six
miles northeast of Wyanet, which is the nearest town. The site of the building is in the very center of Bureau Township, which
contains 36 square miles of the most fertile farming land of Illinois. The school is controlled by two Boards.
The Consolidated Board consists of six districts containing about 18,000 acres, while the high School district embraces
all of this territory with one additional district and two fractional districts. The school site and building are owned
by the Consolidated Board, who in turn rent the portion of the building used for high school purposes to the High School Board.
It is the aim of this school to meet the educational neds of the children and to establish it as a social
center in the community through various gatherings, entertainments, programs, and athletic meets.
The officers are: Gilbert G. Weller, president of the H.S. Board; Joe Johnson, secretary of the H.S. Board;
W.H. Johnson, president of the Consolidated Board; Albert Wilson, secretary of the Consolidated Board; V.C. Ramsmeyer,
Superintendent of Schools.
As this particular community was rather isolated from high school facilities, the people had for some time
begun to see the needs of some system of centralized schools. Through the efforts of the County Superintendent, Geo. O. Smith,
and several influential citizens of the township the plans for consolidation were discussed as early as 1915, but not
until the spring of 1917 was anything accomplished. An election of officers for the new district was called, resulting in
the election of W. H. Johnson as the first president, Albert Wilson, as the first secretary, and Wilbur Trimble as the
remaining Board member. Later the High School Board chose Gilbert G. Willer, president of their Board, and Cutis Plum, secretary.
It was seen immediately that a new building and a suitable size were a necessity, and on August 7, 1917
the proposition was sumbitted to the voters who bonded themselves for the sum of $24,000 extending over a period of twenty
years. Since then the voters have seen the need and advantages of such a system, so in order to give it the proper support
they have bonded themselves for about $50,000.
Ten acres of ground for the site were donated by Mr. and Mrs. W.H. Johnson, Mr. David Young, Mr. Albert
Wilson, Mr. Wilbur Trimble, and Mr. Charles A. Johnson.
Plans for the new building were drawn immediately, but because of the war and high cost of
the material the contract was not let until May 4, 1918. The work on the structure was not completed until the following spring.
Monday morning, Spril 7, 1919, work was begun in the new building with a teaching force of five, and an enrollment of more
than one hundred pupils.
THE SCHOOL BUILDING
The building is beautifully located on a ten acre plot of ground situated in the very center of the township
from which one may gain a panoramic view of thousands of acres in any direction.
The outside walls of the building are made of ragged finished hard brick. It measures on the ground 90 feet
in length, and 68 feet in depth. The architecture throughout is of pleasing design, and no pains have been spared in making
it attractive as well as practical. There are two floors, the basement and two others. The building has two entrances, the
north of front entrance leads by means of a vestibule and a flight of stairs to the first floor corridor ...
... Occupying one-half of the space of the first floor is the spacious auditorium and high school assembly
hall with a seating capacity for more than 400 people. At one end is an elevated stage 25 square feet with two dressing rooms
of ample size; while at the back end of the auditorium are two classrooms with folding doors which may be open and made a part
of it. Across the corridor are two class rooms, 21 x 30, and four cloak rooms.
Passing the the upper floor one finds to the north side of the corridor two classrooms, a well lighted library;
and the outer and inner offices of the Superintendent. To the south of the corridor is a raised floor with a large room in
the center for the sciences, and at each end of this floor a suite of two rooms for agriculture and commercial work.
Artificial light is furnished to all parts of the building at any time of the day. The current is obtained
from the Spring Valley Utilities Company about thirty miles distant. Water under pressure is available on all of the floors,
including the basement. Bubbling drinking fountains furnish drinking water for the children. The gravity system of ventilation
allows fresh air to circulate air freely through the rooms.
It was the plan of the architect to make the building as nearly fireproof as possible. Wood was sparingly
used, and the stairs within and without the corridors are solid concrete. The finish coat of the corridors, vestibule, and
the stairways is a composition known as terrazza, which is not only beautiful, but will wear indefinately.
The supply of equipment is still rather meager in comparison to proposed plans. The library on the upper
floor is a well lighted room equipped with a large library table, chairs and sectional bookcases. It contains about 500
indexed bound volumes, besides many pamphlets and bulletins. Several of the best literary magazines, agriculture and home
economics journals, and a good daily paper are taken by the school.
This year a gasoline gas machine was installed with furnishes gas for cooking in the Home Economics laboratory,
and for the Bunsen burners in the science department.
The Home Economics department is well equipped with cabinets, cupboards, tables, sinks, and an almost complete
line of utensils. Eight new desks have been added, thus permitting sixteen girls to work at one time. Sewing machines have
been installed also.
The department of Agriculture has ample equipment for the work offered, including miscellaneous apparatus,
miscroscope (sic), new laboratory tables and desks, and apparatus cases. An abundance of ground is available for experimental
purposes. The departments of chemistry and physics will be developed more fully in another year.
The class rooms of the grades are well equipped with maps, pictures, and reference books. In several of
the rooms the new Chicago desks have been placed.
The assembly room and auditorium have a splendid collection of pictures, and pennants. An excellend piano
is the property of the school and is used in the opening exercises and in giving entertainments. the school also owns a Victrola
which is used in teaching the folk dances and games to the smaller children.
On the upper floor is the Superintendent's office, which is equipped with office desk, typewriter, typewriter
desk, bookcase, office chairs, and telephone.
A large stable owned by a stock company provides a very confortable place of twenty-four stalls in which
are kept the cars, horses, and rigs.
COURSE OF STUDY
The Superintendent of the Schools is elected by both the High School Board and the Consolidated Board, and
is in charge of both the high school and the grades.
Pupils are admitted into the high school from the grades upon completion of the eighth grade in this school,
or from any recognized school doing equivalent work. The work is planned in accordance with state requirements, thus permitting
pupils to enter college upon completion of their work in the high school. Sixteen units are required for graduation from the
high school. A year of at least agriculture or home economics is required in order to obtain a diploma. Physical training
is compulsory of all pupils, unless a certificate is furnished from a physican stating that the child's health will not permit.