The History of Chicago St. Cyril High School
Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the center of Cook County. Lake Michigan (one of the “Great Lakes”) serves as Chicago’s eastern border. Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States and boasts of several museums making it a fantastic place to visit for history buffs. It is also home to several professional sports teams, most noteably the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox.
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 cultural, economic, and financial capital of the Midwest” (according to Wikipedia).
|St. Cyril High School opened in September 1900 at the request of Chicago Archbishop James Feehan, who orginally invited the Carmelite Fathers to start a college on the South Side in the Hyde Park neighborhood at 54th and Jefferson (now known as Harper Avenue) with 15 students enrolled. A more desirable location was available in the Woodlawn neighborhood the following year and the school moved to 64th and Washington (known today as Blackstone) where a bigger building could be built and was accessible to public transportation. The new building was ready for occupation on August 10th, 1902 at 64th and Star (now Dante) with 137 students recieving instruction from 11 faculty members in elementary, prep, commercial, and college curriculums.
Six students were awarded their diplomas in 1906 when the first graduation held for the prep school, which coincided with the first college grads receiving their Bachelor of Arts degrees. By 1910, the school dropped seventh and eighth grade classes, which meant that there were three departments: academic, college, and commercial.
The college department was closed in 1918 due to a decrease in enrollment on account of World War I, and the academic (or high school) department’s enrollment grew. Upon noticing the growth, both the Carmelites and Archbishop George Mundelein agreed that a new facility was needed to handle the increasing number of students in December 1922. A new building was erected and on November 9, 1924, the school was dedicated and renamed Mount Carmel High School.
|FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO ST. CYRIL HIGH SCHOOL
First opened: 1900
Moved to new building: 1902
Closed elementary dept.: 1910
Closed college dept.: 1918
Changed name to Mt. Carmel: 1924
School colors: unknown
School nickname: unknown
School song: unknown
ATHLETICS AND EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
We are confident that sports were offered to the boys at St. Cyril prior to its name change, as it was a charter member of the Chicago Catholic League in 1912. Photos below of a boys’ tennis team as well as baseball prior to 1912 were provided by Mandy Connolly, granddaughter of Joseph Taffe, who was a member of both teams.
Although no records were found for football (which its’ successor, Mount Carmel, is well-known for with the number of state championships), basketball, baseball, or track, we did find on the IHSA website that St. Cyril had an individual state champ in tennis. In 1919, George O’Connell was the state singles’ champion, quite an accomplishment when private schools were not yet members of the IHSA.
Also, historian Robert Pruter also found that St. Cyril won four Catholic League titles between 1912-1916. The school took league championships in lightweight basketball (1912-13 and 1915-1916), in addition to one each in baseball and track during the spring of 1913.
WE ARE IN NEED OF MORE INFORMATION….
about the history of Chicago St. Cyril High School. If you have anything to add, such as sports records, photos, or memories from a graduate, then we invite you to contact us. Please do so by emailing us atter firstname.lastname@example.org or thru the USPS at
Illinois High School Glory Days
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