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  • Writer's pictureRochelle Gridley

Mt. Zion School, Anchor, IL

The Mt. Zion School of 1939 was a successor to an earlier school established in 1877 called the Worley School. The Mt. Zion School in these images was built in 1895 under the supervision of Mat Kerber. The school was sometimes called the Kerber School as well.


In 1939 the school teacher was Anelya Edwards. According to a family tree, she was born in Livingston County, but nothing was known of her parents. She attended ISNU in 1935 and 1936 and taught in the country schools of McLean County for about 4 years before marrying Baird Mac Donald in St. Louis. They subsequently moved to Florida.


The images were made March 27, 1939 and the name of the photographer was missing from the envelope. The emphasis that day was on physical education in the classroom. Also, the school was the proud possessor of a phonograph. I wonder what records Miss Edwards had to play for the children??



Two children are performing squats -- perhaps on top of a table? I always wonder whether the children knew that the Pantagraph reporter would be at school -- did they wear their best clothes and did their mothers take extra care in combing their hair that morning? I've seen this type of boot on many of the boys, they must have been especially hard wearing and good value!

Miss Edwards may be reading to the children in this image. Is she wearing her apron because she is also involved in making their lunches while she is teaching?

The children were allowed to roller skate in the school house, and here they are all putting on the over the shoe type skates.

Two of the smallest children here share a book. Kenneth Riecks is showing his little sister Roberta, who is not old enough for school a book she will read when she goes to school. Kenneth's overalls look brand new and Roberts had obviously been brought to the school as a special treat (perhaps because the newspaper was coming?)

Wallace and Phyllis Brandt and Phyllis Pretzlaff are enjoying a game of Chinese Checkers.

And pandemonium ensues when the board is upset and marbles scatter across the floor!


Francis Kerber and Harold Friday demonstrate back bends but what was the purpose of the handkerchieves in their mouths?


Mt. Zion School fell victim to consolidation and became part of the Anchor School system in 1948 and closed. The building was put up for auction in March of 1950 along with four other one room schools near Anchor and over twenty throughout McLean County.


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