Chicago Spalding High School “Bulldogs”

The History of Chicago Spalding High School

Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is the nation’s third largest city that grew quickly within its first 100 years. It was the fastest growing city in the US during the second half of the 19th Century, even with a great fire in 1871 that wiped out a good portion of the city, and after rebuilding, it annexed numerous communities such as Woodlawn, Roseland, Englewood, Lake, Rogers Park, Humboldt Park, Forrestville, and Pilsen into its boundaries.

Interstates 55, 57, 90, and 94 will take you to the city, along with other highways with state and US designations, train service, and air travel to/from O’Hare International Airport as well as Midway Airport, both of which serve many travelers daily. From it’s founding in 1803 and even still today, the city possesses an eclectic feel with its numerous cultures and history that distinguishes the community from others world-wide.

Spalding High School was founded in 1908. It was the first school in Chicago created specifically for children with disabilities. At that time the concept for Spalding High School was considered very progressive, possibly being one of the first schools built specifically for kids with disabilities in the country. The school was named for Jesse Spalding, a well-known businessman from Chicago in the late 1800s.

Spalding High School enjoyed two major renovations, in 1928 and 1941.  The school continued being utilized solely for children with disabilities until 1991 when the first students without physical disabilities began attending. The Chicago Public School system was pressured to conduct major renovations on the school in the early 2000s. With the prevailing theory that it was best to mainstream students with disabilities, it was decided to close Spalding High School. The final graduation ceremony was held on June 16, 2004. The school is now utilized as Hope Institute of Learning.

An excellent newspaper article regarding the history of Spalding High School can be viewed on the Chicago Tribune website at

Thank you to Aaron Garner for the submission of Spalding High School.

Chicago Spalding High School Quick Facts

Year opened:                               1908

Year closed:                                 2004

Address:                                       1628 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago

Building now used as:                   Hope Institute Learning Academy

Spalding HS team nickname:       “Bulldogs”

Spalding HS team colors:             unavailable

Spalding HS Fight Song:              unavailable


Over the years the students of Spalding High School participated in many sporting events. In 1956 there was a bi-weekly event that included volleyball, swimming, games and crafts. Interscholastic athletics was likely begun in the mid-1990s. We do know that Spalding High School competed in football. Basketball (girls and boys), track, baseball, softball, volleyball, and other sports were likely offered at the school. School team uniform colors, fight song, season records, coaches’ names, and other information is being sought regarding the Spalding High School athletic program.


The boys competed in football at Spalding High School. The following records were submitted by Aaron Garner. If you have any further information regarding Spalding High School “Bulldogs” on the grid iron please contact us.

1996-97    1 – 9    Inner City Playoff Qualifier

1997-98    1 – 5

1998-99    1 – 5

1999-00    0 – 5


We are certain there were many activities offered at Spalding High School over the years. If you have any information to share please contact us via the means listed below.


….about the history of Spalding High School. If you or someone else who has some information about the school and its’ short history, please contact us by email at or thru the mail at the address below. We want to be able to pass the word about Spalding and its impact on students in Chicago. You can also contact us via USPS at:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva Ave.

Chicago, IL  60631

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