Chicago St. Gabriel High School

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                              The History of Chicago St. Gabriel 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.

Opened in 1895 as a parish school, St. Gabriel High School opened with 28 co-ed students. The Sisters of Mercy were in charge of the school and built another building on Chicago’s South side at the corner fo 45th and Wallace Streets in 1905.

St. Gabriel was a “free” school, meaning that no tuition payments were accepted, except for music lessons. The school closed as an academic institution in 1924 when it merged with four other small schools in the city (St. JamesSt. ItaSt. Patrick from the Southeast side, & some female students from St. Elizabeth) to form Mercy High School. The commercial department remained open until 1969.

At the time of the 1924 closing, there were 600 alumni from St. Gabriel, most of which entered religious life.


Year opened:                                1895

New building opened:                     1905

Year academic dept. closed:          1924

Year commercial dept. closed:       1969


to find out more from you, and other folks who may have some information to pass along about St. Gabriel’s history. Photos of the school, names of notable students, memories, and much more are welcome. Please contact us at or thru the mail at:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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