The History of Chicago St. Aloysius High School for Girls
(NOTE: Not to be confused with St. Aloysius Commercial 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 financial, economic, and cultural capital of the Midwest (according to Wikipedia).”
St. Aloysius High School for Girls was opened at the request of Rev. Arnold Damen at Holy Family Parish on Maxwell Street in Chicago. The school brought in 500 girls when it opened in August of 1867. The Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary from Dubuque, IA taught the girls at St. Aloysius in grades six thru 12th, and were rewarded with their own convent in 1869.
The school grew to have annual enrollments of over 1,000 students from 1870, peaking at 1,200 somewhere between 1885-1893. A number of St. Aloysius graduates went on to teach in Chicago public schools after they received training at Chicago Normal College (which is known today as Chicago State University).
The Sisters of Charity passed the control of the school over to the Jesuit Fathers during the course of time, and the latter group chose to close the high school in 1896 when the Jesuits were reorganizing their school system, plus the neighborhood had changed in the time that the school had been opened. The building was later sold to the Chicago Public Board of Education and used as Oliver Goldsmith School (named for the Anglo-Irish writer of the 18th Century).
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO ST. ALOYSIUS HIGH SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
Year opened: 1867
Year closed: 1896
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