Chicago Calumet High School “Indians”

Chicago Calumet High School
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Calumet High School
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Now a womens’ shelter (as of June 2020)

The History of Chicago Calumet High School

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 cultural, economic, and financial capital of the Midwest” (according to Wikipedia).

Calumet High School was located at 8131 South May, about nine miles south of downtown Chicago, in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood. The building at this location was opened in 1926. The school opened in 1900 and served the community, before it was closed in 2006 to make way for Perspectives Charter School, which was part of the city’s Renaissance 2010 program in reforming and revitalizing education in Chicago.

The building was used by Perspectives until 2018 when it moved to a new location, and now serves as the Calumet Womens’ Shelter. William Doornbos tells us that Calumet High School originally opened in 1889 as Calumet Township High School before becoming a Chicago public school in 1891.

FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO CALUMET HIGH SCHOOL

Year school opened:                   1889

Year became Chicago school:    1891

Year became Chicago pub. HS: 1900

Year Calumet closed:                  2006

Now used as:                              Calumet Womens’ Shelter

School nickname:                       “Indians”

School colors:                              Maroon & Blue

School yearbook:                        “The Temulac”

School song:                               “We’re Ever Loyal” (words courtesy of Edwinna (Cook) Johnson)

Calumet we’re ever loyal

To our own maroon and blue (clap clap)

We will cheer you on to victory

And for you were going or coming through

Though the odds be overwhelming

We will fight for your fair name

And we’ll run that ball right through that line

Calumet’s going to win that game!

Calumet! Calumet! Calumet! Calumet!

Go team go! C!  A!  L!  U!  M!  E!  T!

ATHLETICS

From research we did on the IHSA website (www.ihsa.org), Calumet offered interscholastIc athletics in track, cross-country, wrestling, basketball, baseball,  football, and tennis for the boys, while only results in girls’ track and basketball were available. In addition, the school also had a rifle team at one time. Historian Robert Pruter tells us that the school was a member of the Cook County League from 1900 to 1913, then was a charter member of the Chicago Public League in 1913.

Is it possible that other sports were offered at Calumet for both genders? We would like to hear more for those who were close to the school while it was open.

BOYS’ TRACK

This is a sport where the Indians shined brillantly. Three individual titles were won by Calumet, two of which were by miler Steve Murphy to back up his cross-country feats (see below). As a team, Calumet finished in the top ten of the state on three occasions, including the 1978AA meet with a seventh place showing.

1904    Individual Placer

Olin Richards             high jump  3rd place

1905    Tied for 9th place as a team             coach unknown

1 Chicago Englewood         16

9 Joliet Township                  5

Rushville                               5

Dixon North                         5

Urbana                                  5

Oak Park-River Forest           5

    Chicago Calumet             5

Individual Placer

Olin Richards             high jump–STATE CHAMPION!! (5’9″)

1950   Tie for 10th place as a team              coach unknown

1  Chicago Phillips              19

10 Urbana                             6

Chicago Calumet              6

Individual Placers

            Steve Murphy            1-mile run—STATE CHAMPION!! (4:27.5)

            Richard Peterson     440-yd dash  5th place

1951    Individual Placer

            Steve Murphy            1-mile run—STATE CHAMPION!!  (4:25.4)

1970    Individual Placer

            Steve Whitmore        120-yd hurdles   3rd place
180-yd hurdles   6th place

1973    Individual Placer

            Mike Spencer           120-yd hurdles   5th place
180-yd hurdles   2nd place

1975AA Relay placer            880-yd relay      6th place

1976AA Individual Placer

Wilbur Reneaw      220-yd dash      8th place

1978AA  Public League Champions

7th place as a team in AA finals           coach unknown

1  East St. Louis Senior                37

2  Chicago Brother Rice              24

Deerfield                                 24

4  Evanston Township                 23

5  Dolton Thornridge                  22

Orland Park Sandburg            22

 7  Chicago Calumet                   21  

8  Harvey Thornton                     20

9  Chicago Farragut                    19

10  Maywood Proviso East         18

Danville HS                           18

Relay Placers

               1-mile relay                                  2nd place

               440-yd relay                                 4th place

            Individual Placer

               Derek Peebles       440-yd dash   2nd place

1979AA Individual Placer         

               David Patton          880-yd run     4th place

WRESTLING

Calumet could hit the mats with the best of the Public League and the south suburbs, taking home five top-ten team finishes in a nine-year period, and winning three individual titles during the same time. Here’s a look at the best of Indian wrestling:

1937   Placed 9th in state finals           coach unknown

1  Maywood Proviso                         29

  9  Chicago Calumet                           6

10  Urbana University                           5

           Individual Placers

David Hoare                 185–2nd place

Tony Lambros              145–3rd place

1938   Took 6th in state finals             coach unknown

1  Maywood Proviso                         26

2  Champaign HS                             24

3  Chicago Tilden                             18

4  Lewistown                                    16

5  Bowen                                          14

 6  Chicago Calumet                        13

7  Granite City HS                             12

Individual Placers

         Tony Lambros    145–STATE CHAMPION!!
Bill Marsh          165–STATE CHAMPION!!

Roy Swanke       155–3rd place

1939   Tied for 7th at state finals        coach unknown

1  Maywood Proviso                         15

7  Chicago Lindblom                          5

Blue Island HS                                    5

Chicago Calumet                               5

Individual Placer

             Tony Lambros              155–STATE CHAMPION!!

1940    Tied for 10th at state finals      coach unknown

1  Maywood Proviso                         22

10  Chicago Calumet                          3

Alton Senior                                   3

   Individual Placer

Harvey Hyland                115–2nd place

1942    Individual Placer

Douglas Anderson          125–4th place

1945    Tied for 8th at State Finals        coach unknown

1  Maywood Proviso                         37

8  Joliet Township                               4

    Chicago Calumet                           4        

             Individual Placer

              Joe Rockwood             175–2nd place

1952      Individual Placers

Ron Wanda                  154–4th place

Joseph Strasser           165–3rd place

1953      Individual Placers

Richard Minogue          175–3rd place

Joseph Strasser           165–2nd place

1956      Individual Placers

Gordon Johnson           138–3rd place

Fred Rittschoff              112–3rd place

1957      Individual Placer

John Zander                 112–4th place

1958      Individual Placer

John Zander                 112–3rd place

1963      Individual Placer

Andrew Zander             138–4th place

1970      Individual Placer

Steve Wade                  165–5th place

GIRLS’ TRACK

The Calumet girls matched the efforts of the boys and showed the rest of the area why they were tops in the state during the mid-late 1970’s, taking home a state title as well as a second and tenth as a team, while winning four relay and one individual championship.

1974    Relay Placer             440-yd relay—8th place

Individual Placer

Gwendolyn Bush       100-yd dash–8th place

220-yd dash–2nd place

1975   Public League Champions      coach unknown

Tied for 2nd in State!

1  Oak Park-River Forest                          24

 2  Chicago Calumet                                18

Springfield Southeast                         18

4  Illiopolis                                               14

5  Lansing Thornton Fractional South     12

Relay Placers             440-yd relay–STATE CHAMPIONS!! (1:49.2)
(Gwendolyn Bush, Angela Griffin, Linda Gulledge, Rowelonda Hooks) 

           Individual Placers

            Gwendolyn Bush         100-yd dash–2nd place

220-yd dash–4th place

Ellanor Agee                100-yd dash–5th place

80-yd hurdles–5th place

Brenda Gulledge          220-yd dash–7th place

1976     STATE CHAMPIONS!!             Coach Sandra Jenkins

1  Chicago Calumet                         21

2  Illiopolis                                       18

3  Carthage Hancock Central          14.5

4  Evanston Township                      12

East Moline United                      12

Relay Placers           440-yd relay–STATE CHAMPIONS!! (:48.3)

         (Annette Baxter, Angela Griffin, Brenda Gulledge, Linda Gulledge)

880-yd relay–STATE CHAMPIONS!! (1:39.7)
(Annette Baxter, Angela Griffin, Brenda Gulledge, Linda Gulledge) 

            Individual Placers

             Brenda Gulledge        220-yd dash–STATE CHAMPION!! (:23.5)

Linda Gulledge             220-yd dash–4th place

Angela Griffin               100-yd dash–5th place

1977    Relay Placer                 1-mile relay–STATE CHAMPIONS!! (4:00.7)
(Marla Austin, Phyllis Evans, Kathy Fortenberry, Lorraine Wellington)

1978AA Relay Placer               1-mile relay–6th place

1979AA  10th in AA State Finals            coach unknown

1  East St. Louis Lincoln                        64

10  Chicago Calumet                             17

             Relay Placers              1-mile relay      3rd place

880-yd medley relay   7th place

880-yd relay     8th place

Individual Placers

Lorraine Wellington      880-yd run–4th place

Gretchen Grier             880-yd run–6th place

BOYS’ CROSS-COUNTRY

Calumet had a hill-and-dale team during the fall of the school year, with one individual state title coming from Steve Murphy in 1950 to help suppliment his two track championships in the one-mile run, and two teams qualified for the state finals during the 1980’s.

1950  Individual Placer

          Steve Murphy                               STATE CHAMPION!!! (9:47.6)

1981  Team qualifer for state meet          coach unknown

1985  Team qualifer for state meet          coach unknown

FOOTBALL

The Indian gridders were involved in many Public League battles, involved in two Prep Bowls in back-to-back seasons, and went to the IHSA state playoffs in 1995. Here’s a look back at some of these seasons:

1927   3-2-1  (first winning record)                                   Coach Ed Dygert

1930   5-2-1                                                                      Coach Ed Dygert

1943   7-1-1   Public League South Division Champs Coach John Boyle

1945   5-3                                                                         Coach John Boyle

1946   5-3-1                                                                      Coach John Boyle

1949   6-2    (good record!)                                              Coach Frank Vokac

1956   9-2-1 Public League Champs!                               Coach Ted Zaynor

Lost to Leo 12-0 in Prep Bowl

1957 11-1    Public League Champs!                                Coach Ted Zaynor

Lost to Mendel 6-0 in Prep Bowl

1959   5-2    Public League White South Champs          Coach Ted Zaynor

1962   6-2    Public League White South Champs          Coach Ted Zaynor

1968   7-2    (good record!)                                             Coach Ted Zaynor

1971   8-2    Public League Blue-Green Division Champs! Coach Ted Zaynor

Defeated South Shore 56-22

1972   5-3                                                                        Coach Ted Zaynor

1993   6-2                                                                        Coach Johnnie Butler

1995   6-4    Class 4A Playoff Qualifier                          Coach Johnnie Butler

Lost to Oak Lawn Richards, 45-0

2003   5-2                                                                        coach unknown

Some information about the 1956-57 teams from David Haberkorn:

“Coached by Ted Zayner, the Indians finished second to Chicago Dunbar in the South-Central Section White division standings. Calumet began its playoff run by defeating Chicago Fenger 13-0 in opening-round action.

“In the quarterfinals, Calumet was tied by Chicago Austin 13-13, but earned the right to advance in the playoffs by virtue of an advantage in all three tie-breaking statistical categories. Calumet won its semifinal matchup from Chicago Schurz 13-7 and defeated Chicago Morgan Park 25-19 in the league championship game at Soldier Field on Nov. 24th. Calumet returned to Soldier Field for the Prep Bowl a week later, but lost to Chicago Catholic League champion Chicago Leo 12-0 before an estimated 66,000 fans.

“The following year, Calumet won the South-Central section White Division title, then defeated Chicago Tilden 18-0, Chicago Lane Tech 12-6, Chicago Lindblom 26-6 and Chicago Fenger 6-0 before losing in the Prep Bowl to Chicago Mendel Catholic 6-0 on a last-second touchdown pass.”

BOYS’ TENNIS

In the mid-to-late 1920’s, Calumet had three fine singles players that made it the semifinal rounds of the state tournament, bringing home a second, a third, and a fourth place finisher three times within four years. The Indians also won two Public League team titles during that decade.

1924   Chicago Public League Team Champions   coach unknown

1925   Chicago Public League Team Champions   coach unknown

           Individual Finish at State Finals

            Gordon Braudt      2nd in singles

Lost to George (Buster) Holloway of New Trier in finals, 6-2, 6-4

1927   Individual Finish at State Finals

            Lewis Shaffer        4th in singles
1928   Individual Finish at State Finals

            (?) Shaffer            3rd in singles

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Calumet fielded a boys’ cage team with some success in the first half of the 1900’s, taking second place in the Public League four times, taking one lightweight title, and also capturing a state district tournament during the 1931-32 season. Win-loss records and coaches’ names are missing.

1908-09           Second in Public League Tournament    coach unknown

Finished behind Lake View in round-robin format

1909-10           Second in Public League Tournament    coach unknown

Lost to Englewood in finals, 30-18

1914-15           Second in Public League Tournament    coach unknown

Lost to Lane Tech in finals, 23-7

1929-30           Public League Lightweight Champions   coach unknown

1931-32  11-8  District Champs!!                                  coach unknown

Second in Public League Tournament-Lost to Crane in finals, 25-21

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

We do know for a fact that Calumet did offer this sport to its young ladies as early as the 1900’s, taking second in the Cook County League in the winter of 1904-05. The sport was again offered in the 1970’s when most schools once again had girls’ hoops action. Any information that you may have is greatly appreciated.

1904-05  Second in Cook County League                   coach unknown

Lost to Hyde Park in finals, 23-11

1986-87                                                                        Coach McGee

1987-88                                                                        Coach McGee

RIFLE TEAM

In terms of showing that they could hit the target with accuracy, Calumet was one of the schools that offered a rifle team during the early 1930’s, bringing home the Public League title in 1932-33. Very little is known beyond these facts, and we would be curious to find out more about the sport itself when it was offered.

FAMOUS ALUMNI/FACULTY MEMBERS

Paul D. “Tony” Hinkle (class of 1916), became a long-time college basketball coach who eventually was elected to both the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and the Helms Basketball Hall of Fame. The fieldhouse at Butler University is named in his honor, and he coached his basketball teams to a record of 560-392 from 1926-1970 with a break for World War II.

–Earl Eby—attended first Calumet and later Loyola Academy, and participated in the 1920 Olympic Games, taking second for the USA in the 800 meters, and getting a fourth as a part of the 1600 relay.

–Georgie Anne Geyer (class of 1952) became a world renown journalist and columnist who wrote about international affairs.

–Tommy Sands actor and teen idol hitmaker, notably with “Teen-Age Crush” in 1957.

–Mike Lind (class of 1958) was an All-State football player, who went on to play for Notre Dame in college and for San Francisco & Pittsburgh in the pros at fullback.

James Young (class of 1967 or 1968)– after graduation, attended Illinois Institute of Technology and helped form the band TW4. The band changed its name to Styx after signing to Wooden Nickel Records. Young was a guitarist and songwriter, penning “Miss America” and “Snowblind” as two of the group’s bigger hits. He still continues to tour today with a current lineup of Styx.

–Chaka Khan (class of 1969)attended Calumet under the name of Yvette Stevens, but later achieved fame in R&B music first as lead singer of Rufus and then out on her own.

–Marsha Warfield (class of 1971) achieved fame as a standup comedienne and a television actress.

Kirby Puckett (class of 1979) — even though there are no records of his career as a Calumet Indian, Puckett later went on to play 12 seasons in center field for the Minnesota Twins and was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001, batting .318 and helping the franchise win two World Series titles in 1987 & 1991.

Ira Green — was a long-time baseball coach, is the father of Shawn Green who played with Toronto, Los Angeles, Arizona, and the New York Mets between 1993-2007.

MEMORIES

From Edwinna (Cook) Johnson (class of 1989)…

“My sister and I graduated from Calumet in 1989. My parents and other relatives (cousins) also, attended Calumet. Both my sister and I were on the Pom-Pom team. In order to try out for the team, each person had to learn the school song and choreography a routine. This is how, I remember the words (see facts section above). If you are in need of photos from alumni, let me know. The class of 1987, 1988 and 1989 meet once a year.”

From Jeane Stepp Cole:

“I went to Calumet from 1959 -1962 and I tried out for cheers as a freshman, though I didn’t make the squad, I do remember the cheers I learned, and the school song to this day.

The end of song (at that time) went like this:

And we’ll run that ball right through that line

Calumet go win that game! (the word game was dragged out)

Calumet! Calumet! Fear No Foe

Calumet! Calumet! Go team go!

C –  A – L – U –  M –  E – T!

CALUMET!!

Thanks for letting me give you my input.

From Larry Brown (class of 1975):

“Upon review of the football portion concerning Calumet, there is no mention of the Blue-Green Division Championship between Calumet and South Shore High School. Calumet won that contest 56-22 and went to the White Division South. Ted Zaynor was the head coach. I attended Calumet from 1971-75 and I had the honor of being coached by Coach Zaynor and later by Coach Johnnie Butler.”

From Jill King (daughter of Calumet alum Jimmy Featherstone, from 8/31/2018):

“My father, Jimmy Featherstone, I remember graduated from Calumet.

“He became quite famous, was with the Big Bands, then WGN-TV. He would have graduated around 1937-42. He was on the wrestling team, played drums in the band, and sang. He also used a big megaphone to help cheer the sports teams.”

Main hallway at Calumet High School
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courtesy of Britney Moring
Another hallway at Calumet HS
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courtesy of Britney Moring

From Britney Moring (dated June 13, 2020):

“Hello, I just read your article on Calumet High School. Thank you, and for whatever reason, I feel a special place in my heart for it and enjoyed reading more about its history. That may sound strange for one to feel this way, yet I’m one that appreciates the history and architectural beauty in old buildings.

“It’s sad to see the fate it faces now, which brings me to why I emailed you. Calumet High School, to my knowledge, closed in the year 2018 (AUTHOR’S NOTE: The building ceased to be a high school in 2018). It was something to do with condensing to a smaller facility, or something like that.

“For two years, this building sat empty until a few months ago when it was converted into a homeless shelter, now called Calumet Womens’ Shelter. As we’d expect, COVID-19 has dramatically increased homelessness, and so this is an attempt to march the overwhelmed shelters in Chicago (at this time).

“I’m one of the residents here, I came a few weeks ago. I’m a visionary, and look for ways to change the world; yet, this rarely is successful as it seems. I was fascinated by the building and being the nosy person I am, (I) couldn’t help but explore. They only use a third or less of the building for the shelter, (and I) got in trouble three times for roaming.

“The first time I explored the third floor, found a Calumet hoodie, and kept it for a keepsake. Went into classrooms to find most of the stuff still there going to waste, which is so sad. Books, dozens of laptops, microscopes, chemistry supplies, students’ belongings’, you name it.

“The second time, I found a back entrance in the womens’ locker/shower room and a hidden staircase. I (also) found a second basketball gym, which was a surprise, (and) several rooms with various stuff left behind. The third time was the most special. I found the theater and as an arts-loving person, I was having a field day. (There were hundreds) of books that were left on the floor and shelves.

“When I made my way to the stage, I found old props (and) two pianos, one in tune. It was the first time I played in years. I wrote a song and recorded myself playing. It was therapeutic, and (was later told) we aren’t allowed in there for fire code.”

From Wayne Zandstra (dated April 21, 2022):

“I liked your history of Chicago Calumet HS, but I did not see any baseball. I believe we won the city championship in 1965. I think that Caruso was the pitcher, but I cannot be sure.

“Also, there was a movie at Calumet High School: Light It Up (from 1999). Although set in New York City, I recognized the door that I always walked through at Calumet. So I looked up Light It Up (Light It Up (1999) – IMDb) and saw that it was actually filmed at Calumet.” (NOTE: The movie stars hip-hop star Usher Raymond, Judd Nelson, Forest Whitaker, Sara Gilbert, and Vanessa Williams.)

IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CALUMET HIGH SCHOOL…

then we invite you to contact us with it. We’re always in need of filling in the gaps on certain sports and other information, so please email your submissions to dr.veeman@gmail.com or send them through the mail to our address:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

Calumet HS auditorium/theater from balcony
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courtesy of Britney Moring
Calumet HS auditorium/theater view from stage
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Courtesy of Britney Moring


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