|St. George's School for Girls
|courtesy of Judy Tysking Allen
The History of St. George's School for Girls
Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is located
on the shores of Lake Michigan, and is the third largest city in the United States. Various interstate, state, & US highways
travel thru the "Windy City" along with several railroad
O'Hare International Airport is one of the busiest terminals
in the world, and handles a great deal of air traffic on a daily basis. The Chicago
and Des Plaines Rivers still provide an outlet
for water traffic if chosen by those wish to travel by that mode. "The
City of Big Shoulders" was founded in 1803 as Fort Dearborn, then grew slowly until it was
recognized as a city in 1837.
Although it may have suffered a setback in 1871 to the Great
Chicago Fire, the city pulled itself up by its own bootstraps to rebuild, gaining many immigrants from various European
countries and hosted the Columbian Exposition in 1893. By then, Chicago had
grown even more to the point that it became the fastest growing city in the US during the second half of the 19th Century.
St. George School for Girls was opened in
1918 by its founder, George Williams. The school’s purpose was to educate
at the elementary level and do so by having a facility that embraced the heritage of the Hyde
The school expanded to a high school division and eventually took in boarders around World War II, when about 300 students lived on campus.
St. George was initially located at 910 Lawerance Avenue on the city’s
North Side, but moved in 1921 to 4545 Drexel because of increased enrollment.
The high school opened at that time, but it became too large to handle and returned to an elementary school in 1938, according to the archives of the Hyde Park Herald. In
1934, Anne Tyskling arrived at the school as a teacher, and assumed the director’s role two years later to guide the future of the school.
After closing the high school down and getting
thru World War II, St. George went thru a period of consternation which included having to move the school, financial crisis,
and the threat of closing the school. Mrs. Tyskling did what she could to keep the school open, including having to move to the Rodfei Zedek Temple on East 54th Place.
Another hallmark moment that St. George endured was
in 1952 when the school was threatened with eviction due to admitting a Hindu child into the school. For
those who lived around the school, the child was thought to be African-American
as the city of Chicago was experiencing an influx
of people from the southern part of the United States, and since the school was located in a
neighborhood where the neighbors objected nor cared, St.
George rose above the situation by becoming a model to other schools in how they accepted all children, regardless of their race, creed, and color.
The school survived the
issues and relocated again to 4810 Ellis in a building that was purchased by Tyskling, then grew to 145 students within a matter of years, at which time St. George and Harvard School for Boys began talks to merge their schools together. The Board of Directors for St. George agreed to buy Harvard School and bring together students
from K-12 in an intergrated setting,
completing its mission in time for the 1962-63 school year
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO ST. GEORGE'S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
Year high school classes started: 1921
Stopped high school classes:
Year moved: 1952
Year merged with Harvard:
St. George's certainly must have have offered some extra-curricular activities to its' students while it was opened as
a girls' school, but there was no information available at the time this page was written. We are looking for more details,
and welcome them at the addresses listed below.
|St. George's School Boarding House
|courtesy of Judy Tyskling Allen
From Geraldine Dorin Urban:
"My twin sister and I were first grade students at St. George
in 1932. We were the youngest girls there at that time. If my memory is correct, the
lady in charge was Mrs. Edgerton. We called her Mama Edgerton. I remember our uniforms were gray, long
sleeves with white cuffs and collar. The lower grades had blue ties tied with square knots,
the upper grades had red ties.
"I also remember singing the school song
as were going down stairs for meals. "Hail, Hail to St. George School" are the only words I recall. I am trying to write my life history and wish to include pictures. I am hoping you will be so very kind and e-mail me a picture of that beautiful building (email
address is email@example.com)and I thank you in advance."
From Sharon Curts-Donovan:
"I went to this school in the 50's. You said you wanted to know about any activities they had. Mrs. Tyskling had us riding horses at the South Shore Country Club. We were in small shows but her son always won the prize."
From Bernie Kleon (former grade school student, from 2/4/2021):
"I was very pleased to come across your info on the web.
I attended first grade there as a boarding student in 1938-1939.
"Some new history for you: I am not and have never been a girl! The school at that exact
time represented themselves as "St. George School for Girls and Small Boys." I remember a mix of boys and girls in my classes.
I don't remember seeing any older boys around the school so first grade might have been the age limit for boys.
"I have very fond memories of two other boarding students: Billy Doyle (William)
and his sister Diana Doyle. I have often wished that I could find and contact them. At this time we would all be in our
From Julie (Sundell) Demain (former grade
school student, dated 11/11/2021):
"I am so happy to share my memories of St. George. I believe I attended
from about 1946 to 1949. It could have been longer. I don't know how I was able to go there, but perhaps because my parents
were divorced and my father lived in New Jersey, so there was no one to take care of me while my mother worked. We lived in
an apartment on 102nd Street, and on Sunday night, she took me to school with clean clothes and uniforms, (then) on Friday
night, I went home for the weekend. I credit much of my success in life to my experiences there.
"During those years, I had horseback riding lessons (Gentle Juday was the
horse every newcomer rode), piano lessons, swimming lessons at the Y, small school classes, and when I eventually went to
public school, I was way ahead of the other students.
"I remember lining up in the hall for meals and curtseying to the principal
before entering the dining room - and you had to eat everything on the plate. I'm sure it was at St. George's where we went
to parades (I think one was MacArthur returning from the war) and going to the Crackerjack factory.
"When I was at the school, I was limping and diagnosed with rheumatic fever.
I was sent to LaRabida Sanitarium for around nine months, I guess. When I came back to St. George's, things had changed. There
were fewer students, maybe some boys, (and) much smaller classes. I was so young, so I don't remember any details.
"I'm 79 years old now, and I remember so much of my time there, and so grateful
for that experience. I just remembers one funny thing: my mother told me if I didn't like it there that I could come home,
and I said I didn't like Miss Sawbridge, so I wanted to come home. She just laughed."
IF YOU HAVE MORE INFORMATION....
about the former St. George School for Girls in Chicago, please let us know. We'll accept more facts,
updates about school life, photos of the buildings, words to any school song/anthems, and your memories. Please contact
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or thru the United States Postal Service (aka "snailmail") at the following address:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL 60631
|Chicago St. George School for Girls Ceremony