The following is taken from "Ilion 1852-1952." We thank the Mayor and other officials of Ilion for granting us permission to provide this information to our visitors.

History of Ilion's Schools

The pioneers who settled the hills of Herkimer County and reclaimed some of the surrounding wilderness did not forget to plant the seeds of those educational institutions in the midst of which they had been reared. In 1805 the first district school was built where now stands the Best Garage. Later it moved to where one of the Remington Arms Buildings is located and later still, opposite the Rasbach bridge, on what is now known as Arlington Avenue. It was a small wooden structure, one story high, and the school was conducted by one teacher.

In 1848, a two story stone building was erected on Morgan St. During the Civil War Ilion grew and there was again the need for better educational facilities. In 1865, a commodious, three story building with three departments was built on the lawn in front of the Stone School House known as "The Most Imposing School House" in this part of the Mohawk Valley. At the time it cost $23,000. In 1872 the school was chartered by the Regents of the University of the State of New York and in 1873 the first class of six girls was graduated with diplomas. Mrs. P. N. Hamlin, the former Miss Agnes Morgan, was a teacher there and later became principal for many years.

There was a training class in Ilion between the years 1893 and 1905. An addition to the Stone School House was made in 1884. In 1900 one was made to the Morgan Street school building. In 1927 the Morgan Street school property was sold to the village for $20,000. Upon the site of the old school now stands the Municipal Building.

April 30, 1897 saw the dedication of a splendid six room building, known as the West Hill School. It was enlarged to 14 rooms with a gymnasium in 1925. Mrs. William Lavigne succeeded Miss Mary Hickok as principal.

The North Street six room school was built in 1906, enlarged to 14 rooms in 1916 and a third story unfinished room was floored and finished in 1927 for a gymnasium and auditorium. In 1951 a new gymnasium and cafeteria were added to the school. Miss Ethel Campbell has been principal since 1923.

In 1925 the School of Annunciation, in West Street, was erected complete with kindergarten, eight class rooms, library and auditorium. Sister Mary Cornelia is the present principal.

The original unit of the High School building, was built in 1914, enlarged by two wings in 1925, and by the gymnasium in 1927. In 1951 ten rooms were added including a music room and cafeteria and the back stage was remodeled. The present athletic field and tennis courts in back of the High School building were obtained from the Ilion Cemetery Association on April 29, 1933. Miss Loretta Douglas was the first principal followed by Mr. John Guy Prindle. Mr. Joseph A. Baker succeeded Mr. Prindle.

The present enrollment in the schools including the Parochial school is 1,674.

In this Centennial year it seems appropriate to pay tribute to those educators who have given so many years of their time and devotion to help make the educational system of Ilion what it is today, Miss Cora Potter and Miss Mary Hickok, principals of West Hill School. Mr. John Guy Prindle, principal of Ilion High School, and Rev. J. B. Gilloon, the first principal of the School of Annunciation. Supervising the work of Principals and teachers and furthering education in our village by developing its schools from 1868 to the present have been 10 School Superintendents from Virgil A. Curtis to Dr. Earl P. Watkin.

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Established: 11/5/99
Last Updated: 11/5/99
Copyright © 1999 Paul McLaughlin/ Judy Breedlove/ Martha S. Magill