Chicago St. Patrick High School for Girls/Southeast Side

The History of Chicago St. Patrick High School for Girls/Southeast Side

(NOTE: Not to be confused with St. Patrick High School for Girls/West Side)

Chicago (population 2.8 million) is located along the shores of Lake Michigan as the nation’s third largest city. It grew from a village in 1803 and became incorporated in 1837, then its population boomed thru the second half of the 19th Century with a plethora of immigrants from numerous countries came to the “City of Big Shoulders” to settle and find a way of life.

Chicago is accessible from four interstates, several state and US highway routes, by train service that stops at the city’s Union Station along the Chicago River, and thru the air at Midway and O’Hare Airports. As a result, the city is a melting pot of people that make up many cultures which helps define the character of Chicago.

Unlike the St. Patrick High Schools that were on the city’s West Side that later moved, the Sisters of Mercy were in charge of this institution on Chicago’s Southeast side, beginning in 1883. It began as a parish high school of the same name, opened by pastor Martin Van De Laar, with 30 students enrolled in the one-year girls’ school.

A fire destroyed the building in 1902, which led to a new combination school-church building that was ready for use on September 4 the following year. The church was on the first floor, while the school took up the second and third floors. St. Patrick offered both college preparatory and commercial courses of study, and had an affiliation with Catholic University in Washington, DC.

The school closed its doors in the spring of 1924 when St. Patrick along with four other smaller schools (St. GabrielSt. ItaSt. James, and some students from St. Elizabeth) came together to form Mercy High School. That school would remain open until 1972 when it merged with Loretto Academy to form Unity High School, which merged with St. Thomas the Apostle in 1980 to become Unity Catholic, and later banded with Mendel and St. Willibrord to open St. Martin de Porres in 1988 (which closed in 1997).


Year opened:                 1883

Year new building open:  1902

Year closed:                  1924


Now’s your chance to help us fill in the gaps about the history of this school from yester-year. We welcome more information about St. Patrick’s on the Southeast side of Chicago, memories, and photos of the building are nice, too. Please contact us at or by sending it thru regular mail to:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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