Oak Grove or McClallen School

Oak Grove or McClallen School  – The Oak Grove schoolhouse was located on the east side of Springfield Road just south of what is now the Oak Grove Bible Church’s parking lot.  The school was named for Silas McClallen’s Oak Grove Farm, so called for containing a large grove of oak trees.  Silas McClallen arrived in Peoria County from Massachusetts about 1845 with his wife and family and moved across the river and purchased 60 acres of land in section 15 of Groveland Township.  No record of his donation of an acre of land to the Groveland Township School Trustees can be found but it must have been prior to 1872 because the school is identified as Groveland Township School # 7 on an 1872 Groveland Township map (Groveland Township was divided into numbered school districts in February 1850).  Groveland District #7 became Common School District #78 on July 1, 1901. On August 26, 1940 Abby and Gene McClallen quit claimed the school property in the southeast quarter of the northwest quarter of section 15 to the Trustees of Groveland Township for the use of School District #78.  This was done apparently to solidify the schools claim on the property.   District #78 ran south to Route 98 and north to George Court on Springfield Road.  District #78 along with districts #77, #80 and #135 consolidated into Groveland Community Consolidated District 680 on July 23, 1947 and the students at Oak Grove were transferred to the new school constructed in Groveland.  On January 8, 1962 East Peoria District #86 boundary was extended to Muller Road.  A Sunday school was held in “Oak Grove Schoolhouse” in July of 1950 and the school board permitted the congregation the use of the school free of charge for five years.  In September 1954 Rev. Paul Rupp became the full time pastor and Oak Grove Bible Church was officially organized in July 1955.  The following year the church purchased the schoolhouse from the school board and leased additional land from the McClallens for a parking lot. The old school continued to be used for services until April of 1964 when the congregation purchased an additional two acres, including the grove of 34 oak trees from the McClallen estate and constructed a church.  The old schoolhouse was torn down in 2004.  Groveland Grade School merged into Morton District 709 in 1970 and in 1984 Groveland School was closed and the students transferred to Morton schools.  Randy McCallen, great-great grandson of Silas McClallen, lives across the road from the old school site.

As a side note to Oak Grove School’s history, on March 28, 1871 a warranty deed was given by John Shannon to the directors of Groveland Township No.7 School District setting aside 0.422 acres to be used “as a public burial ground and no other purpose what-so-ever”. This ground is now Shannon Cemetery located one-half mile south of the school site on Springfield Road.  Strange as it seems, because School District # 7 was eventually annexed into Morton School District, Morton School District owns a cemetery.

Compiled by East Peoria Historical Society