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History of Palos 118
Beginning of the Town & Schools
Native Americans, mostly Potawatomi and Miami, and French explorers, soldiers, and traders roamed the hills of the Palos area in the 1700s. The first white man to settle in Palos was James Paddock in 1834. In 1838 the first school in Palos Township was built, located south of 123rd Street at 100th Avenue. It was a lean-to attached to the log cabin of Melachan A. Powell. Mrs. Chatfield was the first schoolmaster. The first log school was constructed by Thomas Harding, George Pettijohn, and Powell in 1840 near 119th Street and Kean Avenue. Classes were taught by Miss Ellen Savage.

The name of the local town was changed in 1850 from Trenton to Palos, as recommended by Powell. Palos is the namesake of Palos de Frontera, the port across the sea from whose harbor sailed the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. In Spanish Palos means "tall tree". In the early 1850s, Richard Swift McClaughry bought a tract of land in Palos from Charles Boyer and donated one acre at 119th Street and 88th Avenue to be used as a site for a public school. In 1858 a one room frame schoolhouse was built at this site.

By 1884 there were seven one room schoolhouses in the township with a total enrollment of 266 students. McCord School, named for the McCord family, was located at 125th Street and the east embankment of LaGrange Road. Mahaffey School, built by Sam Mahaffey in 1854 and located near Oak Hills Golf Course, served as a recruiting station during the Civil War. John Weir School was located at 123rd Street and Wolf Road, near the present site of St. Coletta’s. Malony School, built in 1886 in northwest Palos Township, was moved in 1952 to its present location on 104th Avenue and is now known as the Little Red Schoolhouse.

In the late 1880s Catherine McClaughry was the first woman elected to take charge of the school at 119th Street and 88th Avenue. In 1909, an additional room was added to the structure. Catherine McClaughry became the principal, and Nellie McMahon was employed as the primary teacher. In 1914, the Village of Palos Park was incorporated. In 1949 McCord School and Weir School consolidated into Palos Community Consolidated School District 118.

The 20th Century & Beyond
In the years following the end of World War II, the population grew so dramatically that churches and the Palos Park Village Hall were used for school instruction. In 1951 Palos East School was built at 7700 West 127th Street in Palos Heights. In 1958, Palos Hills was incorporated as a city. Palos West School was erected at 12700 South 104th Avenue in Palos Park. In 1959, Palos Heights, formerly known as Harlem Heights, was incorporated as a city. In 1969, Palos South School was built at 131st Street and 82nd Avenue in Palos Park.

For 167 years Palos Community Consolidated School District 118 has provided a high quality education for the families of the village of Palos Park, the western half of the city of Palos Heights, and the northern portion of the city of Palos Hills, and adjacent unincorporated areas.