Chicago St. Louis Academy

Chicago St. Louis Academy Building
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Courtesy of Sharon Bonfitto via Magdeline Reich
St. Louis Academy Church – 1920s
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Taken By Magdeline Reich, Submitted by Sharon Bonfitto

The History of Chicago St. Louis Academy 

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. Louis Academy Entrance
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Submitted by Suzanne Powell

St. Louis Academy for Girls were opened in the Roseland neighborhood on the city’s South Side in 1906 by the Sisters of the Congregation de Notre Dame in a four-story building that was opened in July of that year. The school was intended to be a day and boarding school for grade as well as high school students, but by 1909, the grade school was closed to accomodate a four-year college prep program for the high school students. A two-year commercial course was also started around the same time.

The first graduates (two students) received their diplomas in 1910 as the school moved forward. St. Louis continued to serve female students on the South Side as the boarding ended in 1925 in order to create more classrooms and commercial courses were discontinued in 1935.

Unfortunately, a 1959 building inspection found the school to be unsafe and forced the school to be closed for good. One hundred twenty-four students made up the last graduating class, with the remainder of the students transferring to Mercy or Mother of Sorrows High Schools.


Year opened:                1906

Year closed:                  1959

School colors:               Blue & White

School nickname:         unknown

School song:                 “Our Dear SLA”

From former student Suzanne Powell:

“I have the St. Louis Academy song  for you!!!  My older sister, Barbara, wrote it out and gave it to me today. The tune “Stouthearted Men” is from an old operetta.

Our dear SLA, forever and aye,

          We will cherish and love evermore.

          Strong for the right,

          With all courage and might,

          Loyal hearts beating high with our love.

          We are strong in belief

          That we’ll leave you no grief,

          And we’ll fight for our school evermore.

          For —- there’s nothing in the world

          Can halt or mar a rule,

          When stouthearted girls

          Can pull together for their school.

The  school had an operetta every year. I enjoy the website. ”

St. Louis Academy Students in Approximately 1927
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Submitted by Sharon Bonfitto, Taken by Magdeline Reich

**From Bob Courier:

“My Brother and I attended the grammar school at St. Louis Academy. We were both altar boys. Father Dionne was the pastor. The years we attended were from 1941-1947 I believe. The school colors were blue and white. The high school was a girl’s school and they wore blue jumpers with white blouses.”

**From Suzanne Powell:

“I attended St. Louis Academy 1948-1950. I remember the blue and white uniforms. My maiden name was Suzanne Orwall. I left after my junior year and graduated from Fenger High School. I have yearbooks from 1948-1949-1950. I was delighted to find the website.”

St. Louis Academy Faculty of 1939

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Courtesy of Suzanne Powell (Left click on photo for enlarged version)
St. Louis Academy School Yard
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Courtesy of Suzanne Powell

From Marianna Epifani Anderson (class of 1950):

“I attended St. Louis Academy from 1946 thru 1950, graduating there and continuing on with my education at St. Xavier College in Chicago. I viewed the roster of nuns at St. Louis which was posted on the closed high schools website and I recognized all. Mother St. Mary of Mercy taught chemistry in my senior year which planted the seed for me to focus on chemistry as my major field of study at St. Xavier. I chose St. Xavier for two reasons: one, their science courses were taught in a “Science Building,” and the second: I received a scholarship to study there. Many good memories of St. Louis.”

From Sandy (Esmiol) Montgomery (class of 1956, dated 4/2/2019):

“I graduated in 1956 in a class of 83 (as I remember). Those were carefree days at school, as I recall, not much drama.”


Help us tell the story of St. Louis Academy for Girls. We’d like to know more about any extra-curricular activities that the school offered to its students, nickname, and memories about the school. Please contact us by using the methods below:

1) Send an email to;

2) Click on this Guest Commentary link; or

3) Put your information into the mail to:

Illinois High School Glory Days Website

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

Program of 1923 junior class play
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Page 2 of 1923 junior class play program
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