The first school in this district was conducted in 1840 at the Stewart home by V. Fell. John Moore, later lieutenant governor of Illinois, taught the school and tended his wagon shop, one-half mile east on the north side of the present school site. Peter Folsom and his wife also taught there.
In the early 1850s, a small site near the church on Main Street was leased for twenty years. A log house, often called Whig Row School, was erected. Elizabeth Gallager was the first teacher in the summer and Dr. Steward followed in the winter term.
The site on the south side of the slanting road in Section 15 was purchased from Jonathan Houser in 1867; and a house was built the same year. Ex-school Commissioner C. P. Merriman was the first teacher in this building. An extra teacher was also employed to teach the one hundred and seventy-five pupils attending the school.
The name of the school was suggested by Dr. Stewart, an early teacher, because the school was the "center" of all knowledge in the neighborhood. In 1916 a modern schoolhouse was erected.
Continuing to be the center of worthwhile community activities, this school was given the state superior rating in 1939. At one time this was a very large district until Sparta District and the southern part of Eldorado District were taken from it. Center School was included in the organization of the Heyworth Unit 1948.
—Adapted from William B. Brigham’s The Story of McLean County and Its School
This collection contains 2 ledger books, bills, attendance records, contracts, and correspondence.