Chicago Armour Institute of Technology High School

The History of Chicago Armour Institute of Technology High School

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the center of Cook County. It is currently the third largest city in the United States of America and is one of the most famous cities in the world. Lake Michigan provides Chicago’s eastern most border. Several roadways and railroads, as well as O’Hare and Midway airports, will take you to the city of Chicago.

A nice history of early Chicago is found at the web address of It reads as follows:

“Fort Dearborn was built near the mouth of the Chicago River in 1804 on land acquired from the Indians by the treaty of Greenville, concluded by Gen. Anthony Wayne in 1795, but was evacuated in 1812, when most of the garrison and the few inhabitants were massacred by the savages. The fort was rebuilt in 1816, and another settlement established around it. The first Government survey was made, 1829-30.

Early residents were the Kinzies, the Wolcotts, the Beaubiens and the Millers. The Black Hawk War (1832) rather aided in developing the resources and increasing the population of the infant settlement by drawing to it settlers from the interior for purposes of mutual protection.

Town organization was effected on August 10, 1832, the total number of votes polled being 28. The town grew rapidly for a time, but received a set-back in the financial crisis of 1837. During May of that year, however, a charter was obtained and Chicago became a city. The total number of votes cast at that time was 703. The census of the city for the 1st of July of that year showed a population of 4,180.”

Chicago residents believed in great educational opportunities for the children of the rapidly growing town. The history of Armour Institute can be viewed at the Wikipedia page addresses of and A brief summary of these articles is as follows:

In 1890 a man named Philip Danforth Armour heard a sermon given by a preacher named Frank Gunsaulus. Mr. Armour, a wealthy business man of the time, was moved by Gunsaulus’ sermon about the wealthy’s obligation to provide a good education to all students, not just those of elite families. Mr. Armour donated a million dollars to Mr. Gunsaulus’ cause. This led to the creation of the Armour Institute on the city’s near-southside.

An excellent and complete article regarding the history of Armour Institute can be viewed on the Illinois Institute of Technology website address of .

It is through information obtained on the IHSA’s website ( the determination was made that Armour Institute offered high school classes during its early history. Information on swimming and golf was found. In the articles the schools is listed as a “secondary school” which meant it offered classes to high school-aged children who had completed a grade school program. This would obviously qualify Armour Institute as a high school by definition. The fact that it is listed in an article on the Illinois High School Association website further solidifies this notion.

We are not certain when, perhaps in the late 19-teens, but at some point, Armour

Insititute discontinued its offering of high school courses and focused on its leadership in the field of technology. In 1940, Lewis Institute joined forces with Armour to create the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is still going strong today.

Armour Institute / Academy High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                    1893

Year HS courses ceased:  late 19-teens?

School team nickname:     not available

School team colors:          not available

School fight song:             not available


We know that Armour students competed in swimming, golf, and baseball. In fact, Armour might be the unofficial state champion of the very early 1900’s in swimming. It is quite possible that basketball and track were offered as well. The school was a member of the Academic League from 1900-1910, according to historian Robert Pruter. School team uniform colors, nickname, fight song. coach’s names, and great accomplishments are needed.


Information on the swimming program at Armour Academy was found on the IHSA webpage of The Academy was part of a water polo league in the very early 1900’s which featured other private schools of downtown Chicago. In 1901 and 1902, future 1904 Olympian Hugo Goetz and his brother Arthur, won the championship both years. The school also won a controversial championship in swimming in 1902.

To quote the IHSA webpage:

For two years, 1901 and 1902, the Sportsman Show arranged to have an interscholastic water polo championship. Armour Academy, led by future 1904 Olympian Hugo Goetz and his brother Arthur W. Goetz, won both years. Less conspicuous in the 1901 show were the racing contests for high schools. Armour Academy was apparently the only secondary school to submit individual entries and took both of the individual races (each won by a Goetz brother). The school faced competition in the relay race, but won it easily.”


According to the IHSA webpage shown at, Armour Academy had some success in golf as well. Armour product Kenneth Edwards won the 1905 Western Interscholastic championship which was an open event. He would go on to win an Olympic Gold Medal in the event in 1908!


We are aware that Armour was competitive on the diamonds of Chicago during the same era that swimming and golf had their moments. The school won two conference titles in the Academic League within three years.

1905     Academic League Champions

1908     Academic League Champions

Any further information you may wish to share about the athletic program at Armour Institute is welcome. 

Distinguished Alumni

Franklin Pierce Adams (Class of 1899) – Journalist for New York and Chicago newspapers, moste noted for his tenure at the New York Evening Mail. Came up with the phrase “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” after the Chicago Cubs infield of the 1908 World Champs. Read more about Bauer at the following link:


If you have ANY further information regarding Armour Institute/Academy please contact us via e-mail at You can also write to us via the “good ole” U.S. Postal Service at the following address:

IHSGD Website

6439 N. Neva St.

Chicago, Il.  60631

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