Lisle Manual Training School for Boys & Girls

 The History of Lisle Manual Training School for Boys & Girls

Lisle (population: 21,282) is a western suburb of Chicago, located about 30 miles west of the big city along the DuPage River and was first settled in 1830 by Bailey Hobson. Two years later, James & Luther Hatch permanently settled in Lisle after the Black Hawk War as farmers, and started the trend towards having others joining them.

The community is located in DuPage County and had ties to the dairy industry for many years. As unusual as it may seem, the residents of Lisle did not incorporate until 1956, over 125 years after the first settler came.

US Route 34 (also known as Ogden Avenue) is the major route thru Lisle, alolng with Illinois 53. Interstates 88 and 355 also bring commerce thru the area, bus service from Pace also available, and the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy RR provide rail service along with Amtrak and Metra for those that work in Chicago. St. Joseph’s Creek also runs thru the community.

From its humble beginnings as St. Joseph Bohemian Orphanage in Lisle in 1898 under the tutelege of Benedictine brothers and sisters, the Lisle Manual Training School was opened in 1912 after an appeal by the Very Rev. Procopius Neuzil to Bohemian Catholics in the USA to raise funds to build the school. Both grade school and vocational courses were offered at the school, which was also near the site of St. Procopius College Academy and Sacred Heart Academy.

A two-year commercial high school course of study was started in September 1922 by Rev. Anselm J. Fleisig for those who wished to pursure a business career. Lisle Manual’s commercial school closed in June 1949 as the students were sent to either St. Procopius or Sacred Heart to finish their studies.


Year opened as school:                              1912

Year commercial high school opened:          1922

Year closed:                                              1949


(from Marie Kenny)

I believe my grandmother, Emily Novak and her brother, Stanley Novak were in the training school around 1915. They were in the orphanage, and my grandmother learned secretarial skills, and my great uncle learned shoemaking.

My grandmother was employed as a secretary and was able to save enough money to buy a house for her family (her father, and brothers). Both my grandma and her brother were in the orphanage when my great grandmother was ill and hospitalized for a long time, and her father, an unemployed carriage maker could not care for the children.

My grandmother hated her time in the orphanage, but my great uncle Stanley liked it. He was proud of the fact that he didn’t have to sleep in the baby room, where the kids still wet the bed.


that may have attended Lisle Manual Training School for Boys & Girls? We’re looking for more information about this school and the type of education they received while attending. Please send your information to us via email at or by clicking here to complete the Guest Commentary form. If you don’t have a computer, then we’ll gladly accept your submissions at:

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