Chicago St. Agatha Academy

The History of Chicago St. Agatha’s Academy

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the center of Cook County. The town became a vital hub for transportation and industry in the mid-1800s. Its location on the banks of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River gave it access to the early transportation mode of the day; water. Chicago has utilized the lake and its early growth to become one of the most prominent cities in the world. O’Hare Airport is one of the world’s busiest. Several major highways and Illinois routes lead you to and from Chicago as well.

Chicago also became a very ethnically diverse area in the early days and has remained so even today. The Catholic religion has always played a major role in Chicago’s history, and St. Agatha’s Academy was created in 1854 due to the demands for admitting young females to St. Xavier Academy, which was established in 1847. The school was ready for occupancy on December 3, 1854, right outside the city limits of a growing Chicago, as a branch to St. Xavier. The name of the institution comes from Mother Mary Agatha, who was responsible for getting the building process started but died due to cholera in the summer of 1854.

Boarding students were accepted during the lifetime of the school, coming from Ohio, Missouri, Colorado, and California. They attended classes with daughters of prominent Chicagoans that were day students. The school closed its doors in 1863 for financial reasons. The building was converted into Mercy Hospital, which replaced an older structure that was sold by Bishop William Duggan of Chicago. The remaining boarding students were transferred to St. Xavier Academy.

There was a second life for the school as it reopened in 1890 at 49th Street and Evans Avenue on the South Side as a select day and boarding school for girls, but it closed in 1901 as the result of merging with Corpus Christi School.


Year opened:             1854

Year closed:              1863

Reopened:                 1890

Closed for good:         1901


we are always in need of help about the history of any school we feature on our website, including St. Agatha’s Academy. Help us keep the memories alive by submitting information about the school, any memories that a graduate may have, and even a photo or sketch of the school is welcome, too. You can email us at or write to us at:

IHSGD Website

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: