The History of Chicago Lewis Institute High School
Chicago (population approximately 2,800,000) is situated in the far northeastern portion of Illinois in the heart of Cook County. Highways leading to and from Chicago include I-55, I-57, I-88, I-90, and I-94. Several railways also take you into the nation’s third largest city. Lake Michigan serves as Chicago’s eastern border and was vital (and still is today) to Chicago’s early growth and economy.
The area in which Chicago is located was first settled in the very early 1800’s. The mouth of the Chicago River at Lake Michigan served as an important waterway from the east to the west. The town was organized in 1832 and chartered as a city in 1837. Chicago’s population that year was 4,180.
By the late 1800’s, Chicago was a boom town, the population increasing at a rapid rate. Along with this boom came the need for education. Residents saw to it that their children were given many opportunities. Along with the growth of public schools came the establishment of several private and parochial schools. Lewis Institute was one of these schools.
Lewis Institute was located on the city’s west side in the area of where the United Center now stands. The history of the school can be found on the Illinois Institute of Technology webpage of http://archives.iit.edu/history/lewis/. The school is named after its chief financial backer, Allen Cleveland Lewis. Though he died in 1877, his estate left enough money to create Lewis Institute in 1895 to begin the building of the school. It was decided, as the article states:
“Lewis Institute was incorporated to offer a four-year high school course in technical subjects and liberal arts, and an additional two years of college work in arts and engineering. While the actual term “junior college” is not used in this specific grant, Lewis really became the first junior college to be established in the United States.”
Courses were being offered in the 1896-97 school year. Lewis flourished as both a college and a high school through the middle of World War I. With the ever increasing demand for college in the making, the decision was made to cease the high school operation of the Institute in 1917.
Lewis Institute merged with Armour Institute of Technology in 1940 to form what is now known as Illinois Institute of Technology.
Lewis Institute High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1896
Year HS courses ceased: 1917
Lewis Inst. HS team nickname: unavailable
Lewis Inst. HS team colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable