Antioch, IL 60002
Established in 1844 as a subscription school, the first Emmons School was located on what is now the southeast corner of Beach Grove Road and Route 59 (once known as Grass Lake Road). Myron Emmons (1805-1893) who had migrated to Antioch two years before from Caughdenoy, New York, settled on a farm of 440 acres. Myron donated a portion of his farm for the schoolhouse.
Myron resided on his farm until 1868 when he moved into the village of Antioch and went into partnership in a general store with his eldest son, Rockwell Dean. A letter written by Myron in 1878 tells of his trip to California in 1850 and his return with $500 in gold dust. Myron remained in the general store business until he retired in 1887.
The first Emmons School
was made of lathe and plaster and the oak lumber donated by each family. It
measured 16 x 24 feet and was heated by a box stove, which could accommodate
logs three feet in length. The desks were boards on the side walls and one end
wall of the room and the seats were planks with legs.
There was no school tax at the time so each family gave money according to the number of their children that were pupils. The first teacher Mr. Miller, the second, Mr. White and others that followed boarded with the half dozen or so families in the district. The length of the teacher's stay with a family was determined by the number of children that family had enrolled in the school. The teachers were paid twelve dollars a month.
It was determined that the Emmons land was too low, so in 1870 land for a new site was purchased from John and Josephine Grimm for twenty dollars. The schoolhouse was moved to the new site directly across the road from where it had been originally built. The schoolhouse door faced west with several windows on the south wall. The Emmons land was returned to the Emmons family.
Prior to the turn of the century Emmons was District 7 of the 11 school districts in the Antioch area. Each school had three directors that managed school business. By 1905 the schools in the county were reorganized and Emmons was given the district number 33. In the early 1900's enrollment varied from 20 to as many as 37 students.
The building was remodeled in 1916 at a cost of $900, yet was not considered a standard school. The heating and drinking water system were far below the necessary requirements . Since there was no well on the grounds during the 1920's, the teacher, Ida (Runyard) Kufalk, carried water from her parents' farm across the road (northwest corner of Beach Grove and Route 59). The teacher was also responsible for starting the fire in the morning. Ida's student, Ardis (Toft) Pedersen remembers the odor of the chemical toilets in restrooms on the east end of the building.
In the 1920's
Teachers in the
1920's needed to have one year of college to teach in a country school like
Emmons, or two years to teach in a city school. Louise (Sheehan) McClure's
salary was $125 a month. Two days a year the teacher was permitted to visit
other school programs in the county.
The community also used the Emmons schoolhouse. Church services, lyceums, political meetings, box socials, and square dancing all took place in the school or on the school grounds.
During the summer of 1934 a new brick schoolhouse was built on the site. The superintendent at that time was W. C. Petty and the directors were E. P. Dressel, T. E. Hanson, and P. C. Toft. That brick structure had an oil furnace, boys and girls cloakrooms, indoor flush toilets, a library and a teacher's room. The basement of the build was used for indoor play. The former frame structure was sold and moved to the Nielsen Corner (northwest corner of Grass Lake Rd and Route 59) and became part of their restaurant.
Emmons remained a
one-teacher school into the 1950's. In the early 1950's there were only eight
students in the school and there were only eight students in the school. There
was a proposal to close the school and send the students to attend school in
Antioch. Members of the community were so strongly opposed to the idea that the
school remained open. In 1954 from the close of school in the spring until it
reopened in the fall the enrollment grew from twenty-four to forty-eight
students. A second teacher was hired. Mrs. Helen Wolfinbarger, principal, taught
the 5th - 8th grade students downstairs in the basement
and the 1st - 4th grades were upstairs with Mrs. Cohnen as
their teacher. By 1956 Emmons was over-crowded and the 7th and 8th
grade students did attend school in Antioch while the first addition was being
use in the school.
The new addition provided three classrooms and two restrooms on the main floor and a basement area that had a stage for student plays and graduation. Later in 1967 another addition was built with three more classrooms, office space and a gymnasium. Classrooms were also built on the basement level. By 1990 thirteen classrooms were in use in the school.
In 1970 the district had 1000 or more voters and could elect its first school board of seven members. The members of the first seven member board were Alan Thain, Ruth Duha, Richard Dubek, Harold Wilson, Dan Maras, Richard Ruck, and Delores Bowers.
When school opened for the 1994-1995 school year Emmons
enrollment was 303 students. Ground was broken for a fourteen-room addition
during the summer of 1994. The cost of the addition was 1.5 million. Teachers
and students were able to move into the classrooms in that addition in May of
1995. The one room brick schoolhouse built in 1934 remains in use as the
Antioch Township, the First Hundred Years, 1837 - 1937, Knirsch, R. Seltar. 1987.
The Emmons Family Genealogy From 1639 - 1905, Emmons, Edward Neville. 1905
History of the Town of Antioch. Emmons Students. 1918
Imperial Land Title, Inc. Libertyville, IL
Lake County Museum , Regional History Archives
Lakes Region Historical Society
William Thompson, former Regional Superintendent of Schools, Lake County
Memories of former staff and students of Emmons School.