One of the most recognizable landmarks in this area is the Hampton School. The first classes in the area were started in 1833 before the town of Hampton was platted (1838). In those days, the log cabin school only taught "the basics" as formal education was not needed to secure a job.
In 1844, a modern brick school was built beside the log schoolhouse which was closer to the river. In 1857, a two story schoolhouse was built but on October 29, 1879, while school was in session, a fire broke out that destroyed the building. The children and teachers escaped but that created a need for a place to meet. Classes moved into the old Catholic Church and a small house nearby until 1880 when the present school was finished.
You might wonder why they didn't go back to using the one story brick school. It had been sold to what was called the German Lutheran Church by then. Later, they built their own church "up the hill" (now the Zion Lutheran Church) and sold the old building and lot to the Town of Hampton in 1864 for $200. When you see the children on the playground today, they are on the site of the first brick school-house and Village Hall.
After the end of WWII, the population increased so much that Mrs. Mary England's first grade class was held in the current Village Hall until space could be made for all the children. In November, 1950, a bond passed for $52,000 for the urgently needed 3 classrooms and indoor washrooms. On Sunday, April 7th, 1951, an open house was held in the new addition. At that time, parents had a more hands-on involvement with the school. To speed the opening, parents painted walls, cleaned and even laid the tiles on the floors.
February 4, 1968, open house was held for a second addition. The upper grade students acted as proud tour guides. Today, the changes are internal. In the 1800's, children only needed to know how to do a little arithmetic and read to work themselves into a good job. Now, computer training is an absolute necessity so the school has adapted to teach these skills. Many generations have altered the original two story red brick building with more class-room, adding electricity and indoor plumbing but the purpose of the school has remained the same. Preparing our children to get the most out of life.
Most recently, our school has been presented with the "Bright Star ®" award for excellence. School Search, a Kansas City based firm working with major companies that provide information to relocating employees, analyzes data from testing, funding and community participation and advises which schools "do the best job" for the students. Recipients of the Bright Star ® award are given special consideration for additional funding as they are judged as good stewards. Hampton School students rank in the upper one third of Illinois school districts in academic performance.
The Bright Star ® award is just another indication of the quality of life experienced in the northern Quad Cities area. The smaller river communities share a common pioneer history and spirit that can only be found here. Recent growth in housing and family oriented independent businesses are retaining the small-town-America life style that so many desire. We really are lucky to live here!