Joliet Central’s history dates back to 1899 when the Joliet Township High School district was established. Under the direction of Dr. J. Stanley Brown, superintendent, Judge A.O. Marshall, president, and the school board, Frank Shaver Allen was selected to design Joliet’s new public high school.
Allen decided to build a new school in collegiate Gothic style, with the exterior of the building in Joliet limestone with Bedford stone trim. Marble was used for the halls and stairs of the building, and a Swiss wood carver was brought to this country to design the doors and entrances with traditional Gothic arches. The original 1901 building contains arches made of Tennessee marble. The Board of Education voted to substitute Alabama marble for trim in place of the Tennessee marble in the 1917 building addition. The hardware with the Gothic arch design was supplied through Barrett Hardware Company of Joliet.
Other major additions to the structure were made in 1922, 1924, 1931 and the most recent in 2005 with the completion of the Arthur and Vera Smith Education Annex.
From 1901 to 1969 the building also housed Joliet Junior College, the first in the United States.
The committee started as one to inventory all the art work at JTHS. After the 1976 U.S. bicentennial, the committee gathered momentum, and members worked to put JTHS on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1982, Dorothy Crombie, a founding member of the committee, made the presentation to the Illinois State Advisory meeting in Rockford. There was overwhelming approval for this designation. On August 12, 1982 the Joliet Jownship High School Central Campus was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Who We Are and What We Do
The JTHS Archives Committee promotes an ongoing awareness of JTHS history. We collect, identify and preserve memorabilia associated with our school’s rich heritage. In addition, we publish information, display materials and conduct public tours.
The Archives Center is located on the third floor of the JT Central Campus in front of the auditorium’s balcony doors. Closets house records and memorabilia, and cases feature various displays. The public is welcome and encouraged to visit.
Help us to preserve the past. Donations of any JTHS items such as school newspapers, yearbooks, programs, and any other publications of events and activities would be greatly appreciated. We also welcome any other JTHS memorabilia, such as photographs, spirit-souvenir items (mugs, pennants, pins, etc.), articles on school events and graduates, class rings, graduation and performance programs, and student and curriculum guides. Yearbooks are always in great demand. Extra copies are sold, and the funds from the sales are used to support archives committee projects.
Gifts for Sale
A variety of Steelman jewelry, doorknob paperweights (replica of the original), and Steelman statuettes are available for sale. On occasion, other JTHS items are offered. All make ideal gifts for students, staff and alumni.
As of 2007, serving on the committee are: Sandy Alaimo, Karen Blunk, Pat Boyle, Tony Contos, Annette and Dick Dobbs, Aimee Eichelberger, Eunice Frenk, Tana Gray, Diane Hartman, David Jaeger, Matt Kochevar, Mark Kroll, Rick Laib, Joan Lesnik, Nancy Louck, Tom Manley, Vince McGirr, Betty Schuck, and Craig Spiers.
The founding committee volunteers were: Mary Tracy, Chairperson, Tony Contos, Dorothy Crombie, Vince McGirr, Sandy Contos, and Frances Holmquist. In addition, acknowledgments on the first brochure John Brimble, Gary Miller, Don Hazen, Nick Contos, Mrs. Robert Price and Bonnie Fritz.
In 1992 volunteers added were Pat Boyle, Edna Brass, Deborah Cole, Annette and Dick Dobbs, Eunice Frenk, Mark Kroll, Vivian Ziech and Bill Miller.
In 1997, the volunteers were Pat Boyle, Debbie Cole, Tony Contos, Dorothy Crombie, Annette and Dick Dobbs, Eunice Frenk, Matt Kochevar, Mark Kroll, Rick Laib, Ethelda Luckey, Vince McGirr, Tom Manley, Bill Miller, Betty Schuck, Mary Tracy.