|Chicago St. Casimir Academy|
|Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives|
The History of Chicago St. Casimir Academy
(NOTE: Not to be confused with St. Casimir High School)
Chicago (population: 2.8 million people) is the third largest city in the United States, located on the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. 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 by annexing numerous communities such as Woodlawn, Roseland, Englewood, Lake, Rogers Park, Humboldt Park, Forrestville, and Pilsen.
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.
As the city grew, Chicago became a melting pot of cultures and people with countless nationalities showing representation in the “Windy City.” In doing so, neighborhoods were noted by the country were the immigrants came from. Those folks believed in education and started their own schools, some of which were taught in their native language or run by people that they knew and trusted.
St. Casimir Academy was opened as a girls’ grade and high school in February 1911 by the Sisters of St. Casimir, who were invited to do so by Archbishop James Quigley. The school grew and added a wing to its building in 1921 for a convent, while older spacious rooms were converted to classrooms in science labs.
A second wing was built in 1925 to house a Romanesque chapel and auditorium/gymnasium, then stopped accepting boarding students in 1932 to open up more classroom space for those attending. The school was the first Lithuanian girls’ high school in the United States, where students of that nationality were instructed on literature, history, dance, song, and folk lore in order to keep in touch with their own heritage.
The school continued to operate until 1952 when a new building was added and the name was changed to Maria High School. The new name of the school was to honor the co-foundress of the Sisters of St. Casimir and its first Superior General, Mother Maria Kaupas.
The building that housed St. Casimir Academy is still used today by the Sisters of St. Casimir as their Motherhouse, in addition to a Lithuanian library and museum. More information about the history of the building as well as about the Sisters of St. Casimir can be found at http://www.ssc2601.com/history.htm.
Sadly, Maria High School closed at the end of the 2012-13 school year. The fate of the buildings and land for this educatonally historic area is yet to be determined.
|FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO ST. CASIMIR ACADEMY
Year opened: 1911
Year closed: 1952
Name changed to: Maria High School (click on “Maria High School” to visit this page)
Building still used as: Sisters of St. Casimir Motherhouse
School colors: unknown
School nickname: unknown
School song: unknown
|WE’D LIKE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT…
the history and student life at St. Casimir Academy. If you have anything to share with us, whether it be memories of the school, attending classes, or whatever else you would like to share with us, then please contact us at email@example.com or write us at:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631