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Joliet Central High School

  (Redirected from Joliet Township High School)

Joliet Central High School is a public secondary school located in Joliet, Illinois. Central is part of Joliet Township High Schools, along with Joliet West and Joliet East (now defunct). Before the opening of Joliet East and West, the school was called Joliet Township High School. In 1993, when Joliet Central and Joliet West combined many of their athletic and other competitive extracurricular programs, the combined program took the old "Joliet Township" name. The school's notable alumni have gone on to careers in fields from arts and letters to science and technology.

Joliet Central High School
Joliet Township High School 1.jpg
201 East Jefferson Street


United States
School typepublic secondary
School districtJoliet Twp. HS 204
SuperintendentDr. Cheryl McCarthy [1]
PrincipalShad Hallihan [2]
Enrollment3,120 (2016-17)[3]
Average class size18.8[4]
Campus typeurban
Color(s)     royal blue
Athletics conferenceSouthwest Prairie Conference
Team nameSteelmen/Steelwomen[5]
NewspaperJTC Journal
Joliet Township High School
Joliet Central High School is located in Illinois
Joliet Central High School
Location in Illinois
Joliet Central High School is located in the United States
Joliet Central High School
Location in United States
Location201 E. Jefferson St., Joliet, Illinois
Coordinates41°31′31″N 88°04′29″W / 41.5254°N 88.0747°W / 41.5254; -88.0747Coordinates: 41°31′31″N 88°04′29″W / 41.5254°N 88.0747°W / 41.5254; -88.0747
Area3.6 acres (1.5 ha)
Built byD.S. Burnham (1917, 1922, 1924, and 1931 additions)
ArchitectFrank Shaver Allen (1901 original)
Architectural styleCollegiate Gothic
NRHP reference #82002604[6]
Added to NRHPAugust 12, 1982


The original building was designed by architect Frank Shaver Allen in the "Collegiate Gothic" featuring arches, castellated walls, and towers. It was built in 1901 and expanded by the D. H. Burnham Company, in 1917, 1922, 1924, and 1931 which were build in similar style. It is built of locally quarried limestone.[7] The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[6]

The school is four stories tall, two city blocks long, and includes four separate buildings. The campus underwent a moderate expansion during 2005 when the old shop building was knocked down and a new building was erected in its place. A catwalk connects the main building to the T&I building and allows students to cross sheltered from inclement weather. The facilities include a daycare center, a planetarium, six tennis courts, one soccer field, four baseball fields, a 1/16-mile indoor track and a 1/4-mile track across the street to the east.[citation needed]

There is a historical display on the second floor near the South Entrance that is maintained by the Joliet Central Historical Society. Many archived items are kept in a vault; the display includes the original Steelman sculpture and conceptual models of it from the 1933 Chicago World's Fair. The Steelman was sculpted by Louise Lentz Woodruff and is positioned with its hands behind a male and female, symbolizing technology advancing humans. It is surrounded by the original relief panels representing the basic sciences: astronomy, mathematics, physics, chemistry, botany, zoology, medicine, and geology. It has long been considered good luck to rub the right knee of the male before any test or sporting events; therefore, the knee has been worn away and reconstituted over the years.[citation needed]

After finishing a new parking lot in 2007, Central began constructing a Field House over the parking lot. In October 2008, the Field House was completed.[citation needed]

In April 2016, Gilbane Building Company completed construction of a new 43,000 sq ft (4,000 m2) addition. The new structure, designed by Wight & Co., features a three-story glass curtainwall facade that leads a student center and cafeteria that can seat up to 600 people for events.[8][9]


In sports, the district had combined teams between Joliet West and Joliet Central that was collectively known as "Joliet Township." However, the schools separated and now have two athletics. The program is a member of the Southwest Prairie Conference (SWPC) and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA). In this combined form the Steelmen/Steelwomen name which continues to be used by Joliet Central when it competes alone, is used for the combined teams. Joliet Central is the headquarters for the combined athletic program.

The athletic department sponsors interscholastic teams for young men and women in basketball, bowling, cross country, golf, soccer, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and volleyball.[10] Young men may compete in baseball, football, and wrestling, while young women may compete in badminton, cheerleading, and softball.[10] While not sponsored by the IHSA, the school sponsors a poms team.[10]

The following teams finished in the top four of their respective IHSA sponsored state championship tournament:[11]

  • Baseball: 2nd place (1974–75)
  • Basketball (boys): 4th place (1994–95); 3rd place (1969–70); State Champions (1936–37)
  • Golf (boys): 2nd place (1951–52)
  • Softball: State Champions (1999–2000)
  • Track & Field (boys): 4th place (1905–06, 1914–15); 2nd place (1931–32); State Champions (1915–16)
  • Track & Field (girls): 4th place (1993–94)
  • Wrestling: 4th place (1946–47, 1947–48); 2nd place (1985–86); State Champions (1984–85)
  • Football: State Champions (1961–62) ; (1962–63)

During the 2008–2009 school year, Central and West began to separate their football programs, causing the West mascot to become the Tiger again, leaving Central as the Steelmen. The split began with Joliet's freshmen football team dividing. By the 2010–2011 school year, Joliet Central and Joliet West will have their own football teams. All of the other sports except golf have divided too.


In 1913, A.R. McAllister, a manual arts instructor who played the cornet, was asked to organize a band for Joliet Township High School. Mr. McAllister, who grew up on a farm in Jackson Township, bought a cornet at age 14 with profits he earned from selling his pig at the Will County Fair. He studied music under James H. Ward, director of Ward's Boy Band in Joliet. Prior to directing the JT band, McAllister organized the Trinity Girl's Band in 1905 and performed with local ensembles, including the Dellwood Park Band and Joliet Steelworkers Industrial Band.

Under Mr. McAllister's leadership, the band won state championships from 1924–26 and national championships from 1926-28. In their hometown, the band received permanent possession of the trophy in 1928 and was praised by John Philip Sousa (see photo below). The band was exempt to play at the 1929 contest in Denver, but performed as an exhibition group. In 1931, the band regained the national title.

In 1936, McAllister lead his young musicians through a week of nine performances at Radio City Music Hall where the band performed an Easter show with the Rockettes, playing for a total of 160,000 people. The band played for draftees, and was known as "the minute men" because they were always ready - day or night to perform for soldiers traveling through Joliet.

Mr. McAllister became a nationally recognized leader of the school band movement and was known as "the father of the high school band program." McAllister helped organize the National School Band Association in 1926. He was elected vice-president the same year before serving as president for 14 years. On Sept. 30, 1944, McAllister died at age 63.[12]

The Joliet Township High School Band, later the Joliet Central Band, still continues today. It is one of the longest running band and one of the most successful band programs in the country.[13] One of Joliet's nicknames is the "City of Champions." This nickname stems from the numerous state and national titles won by the Joliet Township High School and grade school bands over several decades.[14]

Notable alumniEdit

Katherine Dunham
John Houbolt
Robert Novak


  1. ^ "Superintendent's Office". Joliet Township High School District 204. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
  2. ^ "Principal's Office". Joliet Central High School. Retrieved November 18, 2015.
  3. ^ "Joliet Central High School". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Illinois School Report Card" (PDF). Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  5. ^ a b "Joliet (Twp.)". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). December 25, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  6. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "Joliet Township High School". Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  8. ^ "Historic Joliet Central High School Undergoes a Stunning Restoration". Gilbane. Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  9. ^ "Joliet Central High School Student Center & Galleria | Wight & Company". Retrieved September 4, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c "Athletics". Joliet Township High School District 204. Archived from the original on February 9, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  11. ^ "IHSA Season Summaries". Illinois High School Association (IHSA). November 16, 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  12. ^ "A. R. McAllister - Founder and Director of JTHS Bands". Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Merrill, Tom (December 4, 2018). "History of the Joliet Township High School Band Part One — "Family"". SBO. Retrieved March 1, 2019.
  14. ^ Huebner, Jeff (2001). Murals: The Great Walls of Joliet. Illinois: University of Illinois Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-0252069574.
  15. ^ "Jesse Barfield". statistics and biographic information. The Baseball Cube. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  16. ^ Goss, Dick (May 19, 2005), "Barfield statue event set Saturday", Joliet Herald News, Joliet Township High School graduate Jesse Barfield played major league baseball in an era when 40 home runs in a season meant a lot.
  17. ^ Schabinger, Daryl. "Miss Illinois Through the Years". Miss Illinois. Retrieved January 10, 2010. Lois Delander (Miss Joliet) was selected as the very first Miss Illinois on August 7 at the Oriental Theater in Chicago ... Illinois was honored for the first time when Lois was crowned Miss America 1927. The 16-year-old Joliet High School student was deluged with offers from motion picture and stage producers.
  18. ^ Huebner, Jeff (2001), Murals : the great walls of Joliet, Champaign, IL, USA: University of Illinois Press, ISBN 978-0-252-06957-4, (p. 90) Dunham first studied dance at Joliet Township High School and Joliet Junior College.
  19. ^ Rajala, Hope (July–August 2003). "Katherine Dunham, Controversial Pioneer". Illinois Heritage. Springfield, IL, USA: Illinois State Historical Society. 6 (4): 17–18. ISSN 1094-0596. Retrieved December 28, 2009. At Joliet Township High School (JTHS) back in 1926, Katherine Dunham was known as "Kitten." Sixty years later, the New York Times called her a "Controversial Pioneer."
  20. ^ "John D. "Jack" Goeken". Hall of Fame profile. City of Joliet Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 28, 2009. Born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, Goeken was introduced to telecommunications at an early age. He began a radio repair business in the back his friend George McCabe's Kirby vacuum cleaner shop while still attending Joliet Township High School.
  21. ^ Alleman, Annie (June 30, 2002), "Kay Hays remembers JTHS days fondly", Joliet Herald News, Kathryn Hays loved her time at Joliet Township High School, and was thrilled to be a part of the alumni choir. Hays, who has starred as Kim Hughes on the CBS soap opera As The World Turns for 30 years, was back in her hometown to participate in her 50th high school class reunion.
  22. ^ "Table of Contents: John C. Houbolt Papers (1932-2000)" (PDF). Collection of Personal Papers. University of Illinois Library. Retrieved December 24, 2009. (p. 33) Diplomas and Certificates - Joliet Township High School: Diploma, 1936
  23. ^ Richie, Jason (2002), Space Flight: Crossing the Last Frontier, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA: the Oliver Press, ISBN 1-881508-77-3, (p. 66) John Cornelius Houbolt was born in Altoona ... In spring 1936, John graduated from Joliet Township High School ...
  24. ^ AndTheFoul - Bill Jones
  25. ^ Adelaide 36ers’ 1986 NBL ‘Invincibles’ sewed the seeds with a future foundation
  26. ^ "Morton M. Kondracke". biographic sketch. City of Joliet Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 24, 2009. Morton Kondracke is a graduate of Joliet Township High School and got his first newspaper job at the Herald News as assistant to the sports editor, covering JT and JJC sports. He remembers Ansel Gray, his journalism teacher at JTHS, as being his most influential teacher.
  27. ^ "Judge Harry D. Leinenweber". biographical information. United States District Court Northern District of Illinois. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. Retrieved December 28, 2009.
  28. ^ "Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Revealed". biographic information. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved December 24, 2009.
  29. ^ "Phyllis Reynolds Naylor". biographic sketch. City of Joliet Hall of Fame. Retrieved December 24, 2009. When her family moved to Joliet, Phyllis started 7th grade at Washington school, then graduated from both Joliet Township High School and Joliet Junior College.
  30. ^ Fabbre, Alicia (August 21, 2009), "Robert Novak: Joliet Township high school officials weigh tribute to famous grad: Journalism room at Novak's alma mater could be renamed after him", Chicago Tribune, Joliet Township High School officials are considering honoring longtime syndicated columnist and TV commentator Robert Novak where he got his start – in the journalism room at what is now Joliet Central High School.
  31. ^ Novak, Robert D. (2007), The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington (first paperback ed.), New York, New York, USA: Crown Publishing Group, ISBN 978-1-4000-5200-4, (p. 21) In my sophomore year at Joliet Township High School, I became a manager on the varsity track team.
  32. ^ "Joliet native's stardom crashed", The Herald-News (Joliet, IL, USA), March 23, 2002, archived from the original on November 2, 2012, retrieved December 28, 2009, Parks graduated with the Class of '32 at Joliet Township High School.
  33. ^ Michaels, Laura (October 14, 2007), "'A true 'statesman' dies at 76: Respected Will County politician, attorney George E. Sangmeister known for integrity", Frankfort Station (Frankfort, IL, USA), archived from the original on July 25, 2012, retrieved December 28, 2009, A Frankfort native, Sangmeister was born Feb. 16, 1931, and attended the public schools of Joliet Township.
  34. ^ "2 MAJOR UNIVERSITY PRESIDENTS ONCE SAT IN SAME JTHS HOMEROOM", The Herald-News, February 7, 1999, retrieved December 28, 2009, When James Stukel and Andrew Sorensen sat next to each other in homeroom at Joliet Township High School in 1955, they never realized they would be sitting next to each other at national higher education meetings 43 years later. Stukel and Sorensen went on to become presidents of two major universities, the University of Illinois and the University of Alabama, respectively.
  35. ^ "Edwin Way Teale Papers - Series X: Memorabilia". Personal papers collection. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center; University of Connecticut. 2005. Archived from the original (index of Memorabilia) on June 12, 2010. Retrieved January 10, 2010. 251:5510 Cufflinks presented to EWT from Joliet Township Highschool, 1955; 254:5552 Joliet Township High School Yearbook, 1918
  36. ^ "APPLAUSE FOR LYNNE THIGPEN", The Herald-News (Joliet, IL, USA), June 3, 1997, retrieved December 28, 2009, Where in the world is Lynne Thigpen? She's in New York and she's a star ... She has been in our hearts and before our eyes in a large number of roles since she graduated from Joliet Central High School in 1966.
  37. ^ "Lynne Thigpen 1948 - 2003", The Herald-News (Joliet, IL, USA), March 20, 2003, retrieved December 28, 2009, When Lynne Thigpen was a student at JT Central, she was a standout ...
  38. ^ Zylstra, Freida (March 20, 1950). "Joliet's Audrey Totter Climbs to Movie Stardom". Illinois, Chicago. Chicago Tribune. p. Part 2 - Page 5. Retrieved December 12, 2015.

External linksEdit