Monday, May 11, 2015

A History of Bunker Hill Schools



From the Gazette News, September 20, 1973, written by Miss Florence Seim:

Scarcely had Bunker Hill showed signs of becoming a town until the early pioneers turned their thoughts to the education of their children.  These early pioneers, who were determined to develop this new country were advocates of “learning” and wished to have their children, who were to be the men and women of tomorrow, versed in the fundamentals of a workable education.

A combined church and schoolhouse was erected in the fall of 1839 by citizens of Bunker Hill.  It was 18’ x 26’ and was only a few feet from the present Congregational Church.  Most of the material used was produced in this vicinity.  Other material such as grease, oil, putty, locks for doors, pine lumber for seats, etc., were “store purchased”.  The bill footed up less than $100.  It was a very rough, unplastered little room, with blankets and shawls hung around the walls and doors to keep out the cold winds and snow.  This building, primitive and roughly built, was the first church and the first schoolhouse.  In it the early settler worshiped and his children were taught to read.  In later years the old schoolhouse became the property of W. J. Knibb and was used as a barn.  It has been moved many times, its last location being on the southeast corner of Mr. Knibb’s yard just back of the Methodist Church.  In March 1883, the building was torn down and destroyed.

Francis N. Burnham operated the school and was succeeded February 3, 1840 by John A. Pettingill.  In March, the spring term was in charge of Jane Putnam, who afterwards became Mrs. John Huggins.  Dr. John A. Delano taught school here some years later before going into practice with Dr. E. Howell.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 24, 2013.

Bunker Hill Concert Band of the "Gay Nineties"



The members of the band were wearing "linen dusters" as a result of having lost their uniforms in the fire of 1893, when the uniforms and instruments burned.  Their instruments are new as are their top hats.

From the Gazette News: L. E. Jansen, a pioneer news dealer, was an expert at the waltz and polka.  In 1884, he organized a Bunker Hill town band.  The band, under his leadership, rendered many Saturday evening concerts from the bandstand located at the intersection of Washington and Warren Streets.  On June 3, 1886, the name "Jansen's Cornet Band" was adopted.



In 1904, the Bunker Hill band, with Jansen as director, went to the St. Louis Worlds Fair to play on "Bunker Hill Day".  There were 16 members at that time.

...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 17, 2013.

The Fires of Bunker Hill



From the Gazette News, September 20, 1893:  On Friday evening, for the third time, fire held a fierce carnival on the west side of Washington Street.  The alarm was given about 6:20 p.m. and within two hours $75,000 worth of the business property in the city had been wiped out.

The fire originated in the immense barn in the rear of the Johnston block.  It was probably due to the pipe of a tramp or bum, or a cigar of card-playing youngsters.  The facts will never be known.  Almost simultaneously, all buildings south of the Johnston block were ablaze so fiercely that little could be done in the way of saving contents.

The local fire company, headed by Chief Speir, did noble work with the fire engine, chemical, and new extinguishers and were nobly seconded by many of our people.  To such effort is due the arrest of the fire at the Johnston block and the saving of the business property on the east side of Washington Street.

As near as can be ascertained, the fire losses are:  buildings, $36,000, stock and personal effects, $38,400, for a total of $74,400.  This includes damage to buildings and stocks not destroyed.

Photo: The Old Bunker Hill Firehouse

Previous Fires
This recent fire was the third which had devastated the same side of the street; the last two, practically covering the same ground.  All occurred on a Friday.

The fire January 23, 1880, originated in Sanford's Grocery Store on the same ground.  The damage on the fire proper footed up $12,000.  The insurance was fair.

December 1, 1882, the ground from Bumann's three story building to Sessel's corner and on Warren Street west to the alley, was burned.  The loss totaled $37,000, nearly equally divided between buildings ans stock.  The insurance was about $23,000.



...Read more about this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at http://bunkerhillhistory.org

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, January 10, 2013.