On October 4, 1897, Lake Street School District 20, Bloomingdale, opened the doors of a one room cabin schoolhouse with only nine students. Over the next hundred years, the district changed its name, expanded to include four different villages, and added necessary buildings to accommodate student population growth.
The original nine students ranged in age from five to twelve years old. The teacher was Eunice P. Batten. The curriculum in the late 19th century included orthography (spelling), reading, writing, and mental arithmetic for all students. The children who were seven years old and older also studied written arithmetic. In addition, the twelve year olds studied geography and grammar. Today all students are taught the six fundamental learning areas as described by the State of Illinois: language arts, math, science, social studies, fine arts, physical development and health.
The first school building was used until approximately 1914. Then sometime, in the 1920s, a new building was built. However, from 1914 until that time, little information exists about where school was held. It is known that in the 1930’s, the Lake Street School was operating with two classrooms, eighteen students, and one teacher.
The area around the school began to develop because of Albert F. Keeney. In 1932, Albert F. Keeney (1872-1950), a native-born Iowan and a pioneer real estate developer, decided to subdivide farmland along Lake Street into individual plots for homes and gardens. People knew him as a very colorful man having white hair and wearing a red necktie at all times. He had the red neckties made by Marshall Field and Company, and he bought them by the gross. Throughout his lifetime, Mr. Keeney was a leader in the community. He donated a farm to the Keeneyville Bible Church in addition to other major contributions to the church and the Lake Street School. His family continued to make annual donations to the schools in his name.
The first record of two teachers at Lake Street School was in 1941. Anna Fagen was the principal and taught fifth through eighth grade. Lois Gleissman taught the students first through fourth grades. By 1949, enrollment had grown to 35 students and by 1950, the name of Lake Street School officially changed to Keeneyville School, later to become known as Keeneyville School District 20.
Albert Keeney donated the sign that hung over the school. The old white school building remained on school grounds being used as needed. This building was later moved to Ontarioville. Growth continued in 1951 and Keeneyville School added a classroom and a gym. By 1964, there were approximately one hundred students organized into two grades per teacher. Four teachers made up the total teaching staff. Mildred Miller served as Superintendent, Principal, and a fifth and sixth grade teacher. In 1965, one final addition was made to the school. This included four classrooms, a boiler and storage room, a teacher lounge and washrooms.
To the chagrin of many who grew up in the Keeneyville school system, the old Keeneyville School on Lake and Gary was demolished after sitting vacant for a number of years. Bricks from that building are prized possessions of those who took the time to take a few during the demolition. Keeneyville School District has come a long way from the one room school in a log cabin. Its history has called for much flexibility and creative resource utilization. The communities served by Keeneyville District can take pride in their schools and their accomplishments.
The district has continued to grow. In 2014, the district houses over 1500 students in three separate school buildings with a teaching staff of over 100 professionals. Waterbury Elementary in Roselle and Greenbrook Elementary in Hanover Park are the sites for preschool through fifth grades. Spring Wood Middle School in Hanover Park houses the sixth through eighth grade students.