The History of Chicago Metropolitan 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).
According to this author, it is believed that Metropolitan High School (aka Metro) was open during the 1970’s, ’80’s, and early 1990’s as a collaborative effort among several existing Chicago Public League schools. The school had its own campus in the city and was located at 160 W. Wendell, before closing its doors. More information is needed in order to tell the story of Metropolitan High School.
|FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO METROPOLITAN HIGH SCHOOL
Year opened: 1970’s
Year closed: 1990’s
School nickname: the “Mavericks”
School colors: Black & Gold
School song: unknown
We do know that Metro offered boys’ basketball, and could have offered other sports. If anyone knows more about athletic and extra-curricular activities at the school, please contact us at the addresses listed below.
Metro had a prolific scorer that put the school on the map during his senior season. In the course of just seven calendar days, MItchell (JJ) Anderson, scored 60 or more points in February 1978. On February 2nd versus Chicago Clemente, he made 24 out of 40 field goals and 13 free throws, then followed it up February 9th by pouring in 60 versus Cooley (26 for 31 from the floor, 8 for 8 at the free throw line).
That season, Anderson went on to score 958 points in 22 games for an average of 43.54 points per contest, and is the only boys’ prep player in Illinois to have a seasonal scoring average of 40 or more points per game!
Anderson, who was called JJ due to having nearly identical facial features with 1970’s TV actor Jimmie Walker (who played JJ on the sitcom “Good Times,” a show set in inner-city Chicago), went on to play college basketball at Bradley University in Peoria and helped that program win the 1982 National Invitational Tournament.
In his four years at Bradley, Anderson scored 2,341 points and had his jersey number (11) retired. He went on to play in the NBA with Philadelphia and Utah in parts of four seasons before spending 10 seasons playing in Europe.
Following Anderson’s departure, Metro’s basketball program continued as a competitive one in the Chicago Public League. On a couple of occasions, the school hooked up in some high-scoring battles with Creiger High School (click on the link to find out more).
The Illinois Theatre Festival is the largest, non-competetive high school theatre festival in the world. It was organized in 1976 by teachers from the Chicago suburbs. This festival is still going strong as they perform at the University of Illinois (Champaign-Urbana) and Illinois State University every other January. Metro High school participated in this festival from 1976 to 1978, and again in 1980.
From Patricia Wolf:
“I attended Chicago Metropolitan High School in 1985-1987. My Junior year the school was located on Congress Parkway off State Street, Chicago Downtown/loop area. I loved it! Then in my Senior year the school moved to the near north side near Division and LaSalle Street. I used to take the LaSalle bus to work to the loop which was only 15 minutes away!
I remember in my Junior year when the school was located downtown there was a music class. I had a very interesting art class. The teachers were called by their first names. I had an excellent teacher named Paula whom I learned the American Constitution and passed with a great grade score.
The school was small in size, the majority were African-American. There were a few hispanics like myself and few whites. I was voted Princess of our prom from the Class of 1987. Our prom was at the Drake Hotel downtown.
It is sad to hear that this unique high school closed.”
THE MORE INFORMATION WE GET…..
the better for us to pay tribute to Chicago Metropolitan High School. You can either click on this Guest Commentary link or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also accept information via the USPS at our address:
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631