Glenwood School for Boys “Wildcats”

Glenwood School for Boys
A picture containing text, sign

Description automatically generated
Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives
Another shot of Glenwood School for boys
A picture containing text, grass, outdoor, blurry

Description automatically generated
Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives



                                                    The History of Glenwood School for Boys

Glenwood (population 9,000) is located in northeastern Illinois about 25 miles south of the Chicago Loop, near the Cook County Forest Preserves. The development of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad was a big reason why the community was developed since it was the site of a depot, coal yard, and a place for switching tracks back in the 1870’s and 1880’s. Glenwood was incoporated in 1903, and can be reached by Interstate 394 runs east of Glenwood, while Illinois 1 is to the west. Train service on Metra is also available for those who need to come into Chicago.

The Glenwood School for Boys opened up in in 1887 as the Illinois Industrial Training School for Boys in north suburban Norwood Park, which was opened by Robert Todd Lincoln (son of the 16th President, Abraham Lincoln) and Oscar Dudley, an agent from the Illinois Humane Society, after finding that there were more neglected children on the streets than stray animals. The school was a residential facility for boys only to learn the trades, while also receiving military-style training. Two years later, the school moved to its current location south of Chicago when board member Milton George donated his farm, Rural Glen.

The school’s name changed to Glenwood School for Boys in 1948. In the early 1940’s, the school began offering freshmen and sophomore classes to its students, who may have come thru its vocational-based grade school. Eventually, a junior and senior year were offered so that boys could graduate from the high school department at Glenwood, but it stopped having high school classes in 1979.

Today, Glenwood still offers grade school classes to boys as well as girls, but its high school-aged students can go to either Bloom Township or Marian Catholic High Schools in Chicago Heights to receive their diplomas. Students no longer need to board at the school as day students are now accepted, although those that attend come from broken or low-income homes.

Glenwood also has a campus in St. Charles that opened in 1994, but those students attend St. Edward’s High School in Elgin. More about the school can be found at this link:

Glenwood School Farm
A picture containing text, blurry

Description automatically generated
Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives
Glenwood Chapel
Credit; Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives

Year opened as Illinois Industrial School for Boys:  1887

Moved to Glenwood:                                             1889

Started offering high school courses:                      early 1940’s

Renamed Glenwood School for Boys:                    1948

Closed high school department:                            1979

School colors:                                                     Blue & Gold

School nickname:                                                “Wildcats”

School song:                                                       unknown


Glenwood did offer football from what we have learned, and could have offered other sports, perhaps basketball, baseball, and track, although this needs to be confirmed. The Wildcats played in the Private School League as well as the Independent School League while it had a high school department.


In checking with our conference specialist, Tom Sikorski, we do know that the school had its first football team in 1949. The Wildcats had four successful seasons from his account, although there may have been more because information was unavailable. Coaches’ names were not available. Here’s a look at the highlights:

1952  4-3-1

1958  5-1     Private School League White Division Champs

1959  5-1-1  Private School League White Division Champs

1978  5-2     Independent School League Champs in their final year!

Last game a 65-6 romp over Valley Lutheran

Glenwood Infirmary
A picture containing grass, tree, outdoor, green

Description automatically generated
Credit: Lake County Discovery Museum/Curt Teich Postcard Archives


From former Glenwood student Pat Kyle:

“I attended Glenwood School for Boys from Nov. 1966 – June 1975. The name of the school has changed to Glenwood School for Boys and Girls. The school colors at Glenwood are Blue and Gold.  There is now a 2nd campus located in St. Charles, IL  their school colors are Blue and White. We had Football, Baseball (briefly), Basketball, Swimming, Wrestling and Track teams while I was at Glenwood. There were also intramural sports for baseball & basketball.

“At the time, Glenwood was not part of the IHSA, so we were not allowed to participate in State Tournaments. Glenwood housed students from 2nd grade thru 12th grade. School classes at Glenwood were held for 2nd grade thru 10th grade. Juniors and Seniors attended Bloom Township High School. While there Glenwood was in the Independent School League. The Alumni have a Web page which you can access and collect additional information.”


If you attended Glenwood School during the years that they offered high school classes or happen to know more about the school, then we invite to contact us about the school’s history. Help us fill in the gaps about the sports and activities the school offered, give us the names of coaches and players that stood out at Glenwood, words to a school song, and your memories are also welcome as well. Please contact us at or send your information thru the mail at the following address:

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: