Chicago St. Columbkille High School

 The History of Chicago St. Columbkille High School

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the center of Cook County. It goes without saying, but directions or an explanation about this “town’s” history, location, and incredible growth are self-explanatory The city is famous for many different reasons and was a great influence on the growth of the United States in the 1800’s. It is, today, the third largest city in the United States and Illinois’ largest city.

St. Columbkille High School (also referred to as St. Columba, an Irish saint from the fifth century) traces its origin back a parish school that was established in May of 1867 on the city’s West Side. The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul helped offer academic or “cultural” courses prior to 1885 to girls who parents were considered the most prominent and oldest Catholic families in Chicago. It appears that the high school was opened in 1885 and was also known as St. Columba Academy.

A two-year school opened in 1902 for those that could not attend the Academy of Our Lady of Providence by St. Columbkille pastor Nathaniel J. Mooney, but a change in pastors in 1907 to Patrick J. Tinan caused a conflict with the Daughters of Charity order. The new pastor wanted to increase the faciliites of the school, but the order could not supply more teachers and decided to leave in July 1907.

The Sisters of Providence (who were in charge of Our Lady of Providence Academy) then took over the school and offered commercial courses that started with a two-year program, later extending it to three. It would later close in 1969, which was also the same year that Providence High School would merge with St. Mel High School.


Year opened:                 1885

Two-year school opens:  1902

Change in orders:           1907

Year closed:                  1969


If you locate more information about St. Columbkille High School or know someone who was, please contact us. We accept information, memories, photos, and more. Please contact us at or send via USPS to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL 60631

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