The History of Maine North High School
Maine Township is located in the northwestern area of Cook County. Three towns make up the bulk of Maine Township. They include Des Plaines (population 58,720), Park Ridge (population 37,775) and Rosemont (4,224). Two roads that run through Maine Township very near the old Maine North High School building include Illinois Route 58 (Golf Road) about 1/2 mile south of the school’s location, and Illinois Route 21 (Milwaukee Road) which runs about 1 mile east of the former school.
The history of Maine Township North High School is probably one regarding the most brief existence for any public high school on this site. Like many suburban areas of the 1950s and 1960s, the three towns, and Maine Township’s unincorporated areas, were growing at incredible rates. The Maine Township School District had built two new schools to accommodate this growth, one in Des Plaines and one in Park Ridge. With student population still growing and an outlook of more intense population growth, it was decided in the late 1960s to add a fourth high school to the district. The new building was to be built where growth was expected to increase the most, in the northeastern portion of Maine Township.
Already having a Maine West, Maine South, and Maine East High School, the new school would be called Maine North. Construction was completed on this new and then “state of the art” building in 1970. The doors opened for the students in the late summer of 1970 for the beginning of the 1970-71 school year. Lots of land made for an excellent football/track facility as well as excellent baseball/softball diamond. One gymnasium which would seat over 2,500 fans, and an auxilary gymnasium for practice purposes, were a welcome sight for those who entered that first day.
The class rooms were fresh and up to date as well with the auditorium being one of the nicest in the area. Maine North High School was the pride and joy for the students and their parents. Three problems would soon come back to dictate the school’s future.
School officials realized in the late 1970s that some serious errors were made in calculating the population increase expected. The area did not develop as hoped and the Maine Township population had stabilized. The board decided there was a need to close one of the Maine Township High School buildings. Maine North was built in an unincorporated part of Maine Township. There was technically no town to claim the facilities as their own as there was with the other schools. Also the very short time Maine North was open did not allow for a large alumni base to fight for the school.
As is stated on the Wikipedia web page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maine_North_High_School :
“The closing of Maine North was controversial, considering that it was the most modern of the Maine Township schools. However its lack of alumni also meant that it lacked critical support in the community to keep its doors open. The school was sold along with the District’s administration building, which had its offices relocated to Maine South High School”
Sadly it was decided to close the Maine North High School building in favor of keeping the other three buildings open. The school was closed in 1981 after only 10 years of service.
The Maine North High School building had many uses in its after school life. The building has served as a headquarters for the old Chicago Blitz of the USFL. It was later bought by a group of doctors who were going to change it into a rehabilitation center. Its most famous use came when it served as the set for the classic movie “The Breakfast Club” (see http://maineeastalumni.org/mnnorth/indexnf.html). The building is currently owned by the State of Illinois and is used for several departmental offices including as a headquarters for the Illinois State Police and a radio base for the Cook County Sheriff’s Department.
Dick Paul, web master for the Maine North and Main East websites, advises us that the Maine North High School Class of 1978 will be holding a reunion, their 30th, this year (2008). Check out Dick’s excellent work at http://maineeastalumni.org/mnnorth/indexnf.html .
For the members of the Class of 1979, and any others who attended Maine North High School, check out this website created by Robyn Lazarus:
Maine Township North High School Quick Facts
Year opened: Fall of 1970
Year closed: Spring of 1981
School building today: Owned by State of Illinois (Many Illinois Government Offices there)
School team nickname: the “Norsemen”
School team colors: Black & Gold
School Fight Song: “Hail to the Norsemen”
Courtesy of James Hickman
Written by band director O. D. Premo
Hail to the Norsemen,
True and bold.
Praising our colors,
Black and Gold.
Rise to her challenge,
Winning her victories,
Our ship will never go down!