Thursday, May 21, 2020

Meissner - The Third School

Pictured: Meissner School

     The second school built in 1869 provided the facilities for education for 60 years.  In March of 1928, the state threatened to withdraw the high school accredited rating and also to stop payment of $2,000 annually from the state distributive fund if steps were not taken to remodel the very antiquated building.

    This edict from the state aroused the patrons of District 164 and they tool [sic] quick action on the matter.  On Thursday, March 15, 1928, an election was held and $18,000 was approved by a 403 to 30 vote to repair and remodel the school.

    That very same week of the vote, George Meissner of St. Louis, came forth with an offer to match dollar for dollar, with the school district, up to $30,000 for a new school building.  A community meeting was called March 16 at the Lincoln Theatre and a resolution was drawn to accept the gift and petitions were circulated calling for an election to put the building proposition to a vote.

    A vote on the $30,000 bond issue was held on April 6, 1928, and 321 votes were cast in favor of the building with 15 against.  Plans were drawn and work of building a new school was started in the fall of 1928.  The old schools was razed to make room for the new school.

    On Tuesday, November 5, 1929, dedication of a new school, which cost $80,000 was held.  This school contained five classrooms downstairs and six upstairs, with storage, furnace, and office provided and modern toilet facilities on both floors.

    A new addition and gym were build in 1952.  A new high school was built in 1964, leaving only elementary grades at Meissner.  Because of many problems and deterioration of the 80 year old school, it was  closed in 2009.

    George N. Meissner gave a total of $50,000 for the building of the new school.  Meissner School was named for him.  He spent his boyhood days in Bunker Hill and later rose to be a financial success.

From Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area

    The Meissner School dedication was held on November 5, 1929.  At noon, a banquet was given at the Cottage Inn (approximate location was northwest corner of intersection of Fayette and Clinton) for about 75 guests.  Senator A.S. Cuthbertson was toastmaster.  At 1:45 p.m., guests and a parade of school children in little crepe hats were led by the Gillespie band to the new school building.


Pictured: Dedication of Meissner School.
  (left to right :) Mitzi Mercer Mahle, Senator W. P. Cuthbertson, George N. Meissner, Betty Wise Ash.

    Mrs. Pauline Brinkman, Chairman of the Board of Education, opened the dedication services in the new school auditorium.  After a tribute to Mr. Meissner by Senator Cuthbertson, an oil portrait of Mr. Meissner was unveiled by Marilyn Mercer and Betty Wise, daughters of two board members.


Pictured: 1930 Graduation Class and class list

    Mr. Meissner was then made an honorary member of the class of 1930, which was the first class to graduate from the new school.  Helen Gosch, a member of the Senior Class speaking for her classmates, gave the honor and presented him with a pin of the Class of 1930.

    Mr. Meissner, who had previously given $37,500 for the school, made an impressive talk, and at the conclusion handed R.H. Hayes, chairman of the school building committee, a check for $12,500 which lifted the deficit incurred during the erection of the new building.  This made the total he gave toward building the new school come to $50,000.  The remaining $30,000 came from bonds issued by District 164.

 ...Read this and other Bunker Hill, IL historical stories at

--Cite this story: The Bunker Hill IL Historical Society. "A Look Back in Bunker Hill History." Bunker Hill Gazette-News, May 21, 2020.

Redford, Carol, and Betty Triplett. "Bunker Hill History." In Reflections: A History of the Bunker Hill-Woodburn Area, pp. 103-105. Bunker Hill: Bunker Hill Publications, 1993. Provided by the Bunker Hill Historical Society.

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