Kane County History: Lincoln Elementary School Celebrates 90 Years of Education

Kane County History: Lincoln Elementary School Celebrates 90 Years of Education

Lincoln Elementary as pictured when it first opened in 1928. Photos courtesy of the St. Charles History Museum and School District 303.

  • Editor’s Note: This article is part of a weekly series on Kane County’s amazing history. Today’s article was written by Tim Kirsininkas, marketing manager for the St. Charles History Museum.

For a community as rich in history as St. Charles, every building has a story to tell, but it’s tough to find one that tops the story of Lincoln Elementary School on 6th Avenue in St. Charles.

This year, Lincoln School is celebrating its 90th anniversary, and generations of St. Charles students will come together to honor and look back upon the fond grade school memories the building has provided.

As a classic example of beautiful 20th century grade school architecture, the school has been praised for its design from the very beginning when it opened in 1928.

After holding its first classes, the St. Charles Chronicle described Lincoln Elementary as a school that “will stand and be fit for occupancy for two, three, and four hundred years. It will remain for countless generations as an example of good architecture.”

Nine decades following that original prediction, it would seem the writers were spot-on in summarizing the importance that Lincoln School continues to play for the St. Charles Community.

The school opened as the replacement for the East Side School. Opened in 1856 and the second public school in Kane County, it was a building that originally served as the First Methodist-Episcopal Church.

By 1927, concerns began to be raised by members of the local community due to overcrowding and sanitation issues in the converted building. After petitioning the local school board, a replacement building to be designed by local architect Frank B. Gray, designer of other historic buildings in the community like the Baker Memorial Church and our own St. Charles History Museum Building was approved.

The classic features of Lincoln Elementary have led to it becoming the cherished treasure of the St. Charles community that it is today. Gray adopted the philosophy of making his school buildings feel like home for students. For this reason, the school still features beautiful wooden and glass storage cabinets, vibrant murals, detailed stonework, large windows, and even a fish pond in the Kindergarten classroom.

Lincoln Elementary is a living and breathing time-capsule, a standing monument to the days of school design gone by. And for as old as Lincoln Elementary is, Frank Gray was sure to acknowledge the building’s roots. If you enter the gymnasium at Lincoln School, you’ll still see the cornerstone of the original East Side School, inscribed “PUBLIC SCHOOL, Dist. No. 7. 1856.” displayed prominently.

Niney years later, the St. Charles community can continue to celebrate Lincoln School as a cherished bastion of education, a place full of connections to times and eras long gone, and a place where the hallways hold a lifetime of memories for generations of St. Charles students, parents, and teachers alike.

To explore more about the history of Lincoln Elementary School and to find out more about its unique historical and architectural features, visit www.Lincoln.d303.org and click on the “Celebrating a St. Charles Story” tab.

Murder Mystery Night April 12 at Pheasant Run

The St. Charles History Museum will be hosting its annual benefit fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 12, on Bourbon Street at Pheasant Run Resort. This year, Vero Voce will present Murder on the Bayou, an original murder mystery interactive script written exclusively for this event and set in 1920s New Orleans.

The event kicks off NoLA-style with cocktails on St Charles’ very own version of Bourbon Street in the heart of Pheasant Run Resort. As murder ensues, pursue the clues within Preservation A while dining on heavy appetizers and desserts.

Come dressed for the 1920s New Orleans-themed event, as there will be a costume contest prize awarded at the end of the evening.

Tickets to the event are $75 per person, and can be purchased on the Pheasant Run Resort website at www.pheasantrun.com/murder-mystery-event. Admission includes two drinks, a three-course dinner (hors d’oeuvres, peppercorn crusted sirloin, a salad station, and assorted desserts), and interactive entertainment presented by Vero Voce with all proceeds going to benefit the St. Charles History Museum.

Pheasant Run Resort will also be offering a Murder on the Bayou package including full admission to the event, plus deluxe overnight accommodations at the resort and one breakfast voucher per adult. The special package starts at $279.

Read The Kane County History Series!