Chicago Academy of the Sacred Heart

Academy of the Sacred Heart on Pine Grove
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Sheridan Road Entrance
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Courtesy of “A History of Offices, Agencies, and Institutions of the Archdiocese of Chicago”

                    The History of the Academy of the Sacred Heart

(NOTE: Not to be confused with Sacred Heart High Schools at either 18th Street or May Street)

Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is located along the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. From its early days as a Potawatomie settlement, then as the site of Fort Dearborn in 1803, which led up to the formation of the city and its incorporation in 1833 and 1837, respectively, the “City of Big Shoulders” became a major location in the US for various reasons. Railroads and water transportation were two reasons why Chicago was one of the fastest growing cities in the country during the 19th Century.

Today, numerous railroads and highways of interstate, US, state, and local designations bring people together in the city on a daily basis, as does air traffic at O’Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago is a melting pot of people from many nationalities, making it ethnically diverse, and thus is referred to as “the financial, economic, and cultural capital of the Midwest (according to Wikipedia).”

Academy of the Sacred Heart on Sheridan Road
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The Academy of the Sacred Heart (also known as the Convent of the Sacred Heart) was founded in 1876 by the Religious of the Sacred Heart in the Diocese of Chicago as an all-girls’ school. When classes began in September that year, 32 students were enrolled in the school at 301 North Dearborn with four nuns (including Mother Elizabeth Tucker) instructing them.

As the city was pulling itself back together from the Great Chicago Fire only five years earlier, the school continued to grow and moved to another location on Chicago Avenue in 1877, followed by another move to the corner of State Street & Chicago Avenue next to Holy Name Cathedral where a new convent was built.

The school accepted grade and high school students at the new location, where the enrollment of the grade school (also known as the Cathedral School since it was a parish school) was at 650 students. The high schoolers that attended the Academy numbered 100 during the latter part of the 19th Century.

The nuns left in 1904 due to overcrowding, and found a large residence on the North Side near the Wrigleyville neighborhood on North Clark Street for its school. Another move took place in 1907 to Pine Grove Avenue, but that location was vacated in 1927 due to the growth of businesses and apartments around the school.

Sacred Heart wound up building its own location at 6250 Sheridan Road, where it housed the high school and grade school. In 1935, a boys’ grade school named Hardey Preparatory for Boys (in honor of Mother Aloysia Hardey, one of the first and most influential American-born members from the Religious of the Sacred Heart) was opened as a companion school to the girls’ grade school. Hardey was started in the main building and outgrew their quarters by 1960 that they moved into North Shore Womens’ Club building at 6200 Sheridan Road. The school remained there until 1972 when it was forced to move back to the main building by order of the building commissioner.

During that time that Hardey was in its own building, a double gymnasium known as the Campbell Building was built in 1967, and the Rosemont building (which was intended as a convent for cloistered nuns) was erected the following year.

Both grade schools remain open today on Chicago’s North Side. A 2004 expansion yielded a four-story addition, which includes classrooms, labs for science and computers, along with multi-purpose meeting room, and a rooftop playground.

The Academy held its last high school final exam in 1993, but the spirit of the Academy of the Sacred Heart is still alive today. An alumni association for all three schools keeps the schools together. More about the history of the school can be found at

Academy of the Sacred Heart on State Street
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Year opened:                                     1876

Year school moved:                            1904

Opened Sheridan Road locale:             1927

Year high school closed:                     1993

School colors:                                     Red & White

School nickname:                                the “Road Runners”

School song: (courtesy of Weston Outlaw at

(Refrain)        Heart of Jesus, save the world
May the world be submitted to you,
In you alone our hope is founded
Lord, Lord,
You have promised us this.

                      You have said: Your promise
Creates our hope, our happiness.
“I will bless in my tenderness
the children of my Sacred Heart.” (back to refrain)


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