The History of Chicago Jefferson Township High School
Chicago (population 2.8 million) is in northeastern Illinois in eastern Cook County. Lake Michigan, along with the Chicago and Des Plaines Rivers being the main waterways in the city. Interstates 55, 57, 90, & 94 will all lead you to the “Windy City,” as will numerous state and US highways. From what started as a small village in the early 1800’s along the banks of Lake Michigan, Chicago has grown to the nation’s third largest city and one of the most famous places in the world, as the result of an ethnically diverse community that adopted the city.
According to the Northwest Chicago Historical Society website (http://nwchicagohistory.org), Jefferson Park was established as a separate community in the 1850’s in today’s northwest side, and grew to 800 residents by the 1860’s. In 1889, Chicago swallowed up Jefferson Park and communities in Jefferson Township (including Lake Park and Rogers Park) as Chicago grew to become the second largest city in the nation.
Jefferson Township High School opened on Chicago’s north side in 1870 after high school education began to reach of number of people who believed that further education beyond the grade school level would be benefical in getting ahead in life. The first school was housed in the town hall before relocating to the corner of Wilson and Knox in 1883.
The school continued to serve the neighborhood until 1910 when Carl Schurz High School took over educating the Jefferson students. Laura Marie Sanchez offers the following historical information regarding Jefferson Township High School:
“This photo (at the top of the page) was taken in 1883, although it was known as Jefferson Township High School as opposed to Jefferson Park. We don’t have anything that indicates it ever was, although maybe someone can verify that.
The building you have pictured (second photo on this page, above to the right) is the old Mayfair Public School. JHS’s building stood directly to the south of the building pictured (now the Irish American Heritage Center) and they stood side by side for a long time, rather than one replaced the other. I don’t know when exactly it (the JHS building) was demolished, though. The Mayfair school building became Mayfair Junior College or something, at one point, before it was beautifully restored and became the IAHC.”
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP HIGH SCHOOL
Year opened: 1870
Year closed: 1910
Now known as: Schurz High School
School colors: Purple & Gold
School nickname: “Bulldogs”
School song: unknown