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Starting as a single log school, Whiteside School has operated continuously from before the Civil War to the present. Tamaroa Indians once camped along the creeks. In the 1830's, German-Americans moved into the fertile farmland and spread across Shiloh Valley. Whiteside School began around 1850 as a log building on an acre of ground owned by William Lot Whiteside and his wife, Sarah.

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From the writings of Estelle Harrington, a student in 1885, we learn that Whiteside School had one room with three windows on each side. The girls sat on one side of the classroom and the boys on the other side. Each child brought his/her own books, pencils, pens, ink and copy books. The teacher, Mr. Campbell, had no bell to ring so when it was time for school to begin he would go out in the yard and yell, "Books, books!"

The schoolhouse was a long, narrow structure with benches along the walls. It was called a "blab school" because the students had no textbooks, as in today's schools. They learned by repeating the teacher's words. Grades one through eight were taught in the one classroom. The schoolyard was fenced to keep out deer and other wild animals. Teachers often were paid with local farm produce.

William Lot Whiteside obtained his land, a total of 157.42 acres in 1817, by a grant from President James Monroe. A school district was established in 1865. William Lot and his wife, Sarah, deeded the one-acre site to the school trustees for the sum of $100. Below are pictures of William Lot Whiteside's grandson, Thomas A. Whiteside and his wife, Olive Messenger Whiteside.

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Thomas A. Whiteside Olive M. Whiteside

Soft brick, made from clay at the site, was used to build a new one-room school. A second room was added around 1900. Electric lights were installed in the school in 1930.  It was not until August of 1954, that city water was piped to the school at a cost of $1,332.

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Daisy Whiteside signed the official 1915 record book. In the 1950's, growth in the area necessitated expansion. In 1958, sisters Daisy, Dorothy, and Olive Rosamond Whiteside sold five acres to the school district. Five classrooms were built and another five were added in 1965. In 1973, two classrooms, a gymnasium and offices were built. Ten additional classrooms were added in 1979.

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 The gymnasium was converted into ten more classrooms in 1987, and a new gymnasium and a multipurpose room were constructed. A new addition housing 22 classrooms, a band room, and a new multipurpose room/cafeteria were added to the building in 1997. Also, a research/media wing was created in 1999. It includes a remodeled and enlarged media center and two computer labs.

Today, new homes and businesses continue to add diversity to the Whiteside area. Enrollment continues to grow and students are housed in a main building as well as two temporary buildings and six trailers.

Recently, our community passed a bond issue, which will permit us to build a new school to house grades 6, 7, and 8. The new school will be located on a forty-seven acre site located approximately one mile from the existing campus.

Dian Metzger
Historian