Chicago St. Michael High School

Chicago St. Michael High School
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1927-1968 (courtesy of Rosa Hale)

                      The History of Chicago St. Michael High School

(NOTE: Not to be confused with St. Michael’s Central High School on Chicago’s near north side.)

Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is the nation’s third largest city that grew quickly within its first 100 years. From it’s founding in 1803 and even still today, the city possesses an eclectic feel with its numerous cultures and history that distinguishes the community from others world-wide. Even after a great fire in 1871, Chicago pulled itself up by its bootstraps and rebuilt itself, then annexed other smaller communities such as Hyde Park, Englewood, Lake, and many others.

One of the schools that gave the city its distinctive feel was St. Michael’s High School, which was opened in 1929 as a co-educational, two-year commerical school on the city’s South Side at the corner of 83rd and South Shore Drive in the South Chicago neighborhood. Forty-seven students and four nuns from the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth were involved at the beginning of the first school year, thanks to the backing of the parish priest, Rev. John M. Lange, Ph. D.

Over time, the school became an all-girls’ high school in 1937, offering a four-year college prep course in the former parish grade school that served a portion of Chicago’s Polish community. The enrollment topped out at 270 during the mid-1950’s/early-1960’s but fell to 160 during the final school year, 1967-68.

One of the factors that helped decide to close the school was that more and more African-Americans as well as Hispanic families moved into the neighborhood, replacing the Polish who had been there exclusively for years. The small size of the school and decline in enrollment were also reasons as to why the Archdiocese of Chicago closed the school and transferred students to neighboring schools.

Following the June 1968 graduation, the St. Michael’s building was torn down in December of 1969 (see photo above).


Year opened:                   1929

Year it became all-girls’:  1937

Year closed:                    1968

School colors:                  unknown

School song:                    unknown

School nickname:            unknown


We were unable to find proof that there were extra-curricular activities at St. Michael High School for its female students, although it probably isn’t that hard to imagine dances, plays, parties, band, chorus, GAA, intramurals, and Sodality might have been offered. If you know more, please contact us.


from Marcia Berba (class of 1967)

“Hello, I went to St. Michael’s all girls high school. Graduated in 1967. A wonderful place with many fond memories.”

from Tiffany Gryzcewski:

“As I was researching, I came across your email and would like to submit my grandmother’s (Isabelle Binkowska) report card (see below). She was an amazing women with great stories of her childhood on the Southside. I enjoyed your site and I’m thankful to be attached to such a proud Polish heritage.”

Front of St. Michael’s HS Report Card
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courtesy of Tiffany Gryczewski
St. Michael’s report card
Diagram, schematic

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Courtesy of Tiffany Gryzczewski

Then let us know so we can keep the memory of this once-thriving school alive. Please send us your information, memories, photos, and other items to us at or via USPS to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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