History of Hollis Grade School

Early History of Hollis (1860-1936)

About 1838, school district No. 1 for Hollis township was established. The school was named Perdue School District No. 1, Town 7, Range 7 of Peoria County.

In 1860, Henry Rahn donated an acre of plot, on which a building sixteen by twenty was built. In this building the three “R’s” were taught for 25 years.

After being in use for nearly a quarter of a century, the building was remodeled and enlarged. The size became 20 feet by thirty-five feet, with a hall across the rear for wraps. This new building was equipped with a few new maps and a large slate blackboard. The number of subjects taught were five, an addition of Geography and Grammar having been made to the curriculum. The new building was equipped with two stoves and in the cold weather, the teacher had more work tending the fires than teaching the pupils.

Around 1882, the name was changed to Hollis School after the township it was located in. Around 1909 the district became No. 40.

Very few changes were made in Hollis until 1912. At this time the windows were rearranged and a basement put under the building so that a furnace could be installed. The double seats were changed to singles and more blackboard was added. A small addition has been made to the library and a large dictionary placed on a stand in the corner. The school met the standard requirement in 1914 and has been endeavoring to be ultra modern in every was since that time.

In the spring of 1936 the people of district no. 40 Hollis School, Peoria County, Illinois, decided that the school population had increased to such an extent that it was necessary to have a two room school so a vote was taken to build an additional room on the east side of the old room, making the two room into a common unit. This arrangement improved the appearance of the building, its comfort, and convenience and also provided ample room for two teachers. This was done at the cost of some $4000.

Current History of Hollis (1936-1996)

Into the early ’60’s the location of Hollis School was on Tuscarora Road, at the site of the present firehouse. In 1961 an option on land owned by Fred Reader was taken with the intention of building a new school. In 1961 a referendum was held on the issuing of bonds worth $145,000 for the new school and in 1962 a bid was accepted from George D. Johnson Company for the construction of the new school. The building was to include four completed classrooms, four uncompleted classrooms, an auditorium, cafeteria, gymnasium, offices, teacher’s workrooms, and an unfinished swimming pool room.

In addition to the construction costs, $60,658 was paid to the Peoria Water Works Company to extend a water line to the new school. The new building was first used in September, 1964.

Following the consolidation with Wheeler School, a kindergarten room and three other classrooms were finished. In 1971 plans were begun to complete the pool area. A referendum was held in 1972 and a bid of $80,039 was accepted. The pool was first used in the spring of 1974. Up till this time, the pool area had been used as storage of fire equipment by the volunteer fire department. After ten years, the new school was totally in use.

In 1976 a new addition on the east end of the school was begun. The addition included a large library area, a science room and three other classrooms.

Special thanks to Mrs. Loretta Graber, Mrs. Jan Nelson, Mrs. Barb Niehaus, and the writers of Hollis’ School Board minutes, for information that led to the writing of this history. Let us know of additional information you have about the History of Hollis Grade School.

Consolidation Issues

Primarily because of the size of our student population, consolidation has been a recurring issue for Hollis School District #40. In 1957 consolidation with Mapleton, Maple Ridge, and Wheeler was discussed and voted against by the community by a 34-3 voted. In 1959 consolidation with Wheeler School was again discussed, and while both districts were in favor of the consolidation, discussions were discontinued in early 1960.

When a high school for the Limestone area was being discussed in 1966, and the area grade schools were questioned about the forming of a unit district, Hollis’ residents voted to be excluded from the proposed unit district.

In 1969, talks began again with Wheeler School District #44. At that time discussions were being held concerning the forming of a unit district around Glasford. Hollis and the northern portion of Wheeler School District voted to form Hollis Consolidated School District #328. The first meeting of the new Board of Directors was held July 22, 1969. Its members were: Joseph E. Hubbard, Stanley G. Gruber, Thomas Gaffney, Antonne J. Schwindenhammer, Clifford G. Knepper, John H. Stauthammer, and Kenneth A. Gregory.

For nearly 20 years consolidation wasn’t discussed again. In 1988 discussions were begun with Limestone-Walters. Nothing however resulted from the discussions.

In 1994, a four school consolidation study was completed with Oak Groove, Bartonville, Monroe, and Hollis. In 1995, a study was conducted between Limestone Walters and Hollis. Because of potential loss of state aid and increases in local property taxes, both studies were discontinued.