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Heritage Hunt: The Geneseo Township High School, AKA the Old Junior High School 

Old Geneseo High School 3.jpg

Before the Township High School was built, at that location stood the Manual High School, which began construction in 1844 and was completed 4 years later in 1848, funded by donations and tuition costs.  This building served as a school for many years in the community, then later as the Seminary associated with the church, before it was destroyed.  Lack of permanent funding and the rising popularity of public graded schools caused citizens to urge the trustees to merge the seminary with the public school system, calling it the Geneseo Union School.  In 1890 the Manual Labor High School ended up moving from the old seminary building into the South School building. 


After the seminary was demolished, the Township High School District was officially formed in 1909, the same year that the Township High School Law was passed by state legislature.  The brick Geneseo Township High School was built in the same location as the old Seminary in 1910-11, and opened officially as the high school in 1911. The last day that the building was in operation was June 4th of 1998, when it was known as the “Old Junior High”.  This building served Geneseo as the senior high school, known as the Geneseo Township High School from 1911-1964, then became the junior high (middle) school and operated as such from 1964-1998.  


After it ceased to operate as the middle school, there was a lot of debate as to what the fate of the property should be, as it had been used for the public interest at that point for approximately 160 years.  After much back and forth, the final decision was made to demolish the school to make room for more open space within the Geneseo City Park, and the structure was torn down in 1999.  Today, the space where the school once stood serves as green lawn space, adding more room to the park for citizens to relax and enjoy their day in the heart of Geneseo.  

All information stated has been collected from articles of the Geneseo Republic, obtained through the Geneseo Public Library District Digital Archives, as well as the "Geneseo Centennial History: 1836-1936" book created by the Historical Committee of the Geneseo Centennial Association.  To learn more about this location yourself, check out these articles: 

Building retires: June 4, 1998, last day of the Jr. High - Geneseo Republic (1998)

Summer of 1837 is a hectic one in new town of Geneseo - Geneseo Republic (1986)

Geneseo Schools: From Log Cabin to Present Buildings - Geneseo Republic (1946)

Geneseo Centennial History: 1836-1936 (Full Digitized Book) 

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