The History of Chicago Loretto Academy
Chicago (population 2.8 million) was established in the early 1800's along the banks of Lake MIchigan
and the Chicago River. Chicago sits in the far northeastern portion of Illinois in the center of Cook County. Interstate
Highways 55, 57, 90, and 94 all lead you to Chicago. Several Illinois Routes also lead to and from Chicago.
Chicago has been the home to several parochial schools throughout the years. Among them was Loretto Academy.
This all-girls' Catholic high school was located on the city of Chicago's east side. The school building was erected at
65th Street and Blackstone Avenue in Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood, near where Mount Carmel High School for Boys is
The Academy was founded by a group of catholic nuns known as the Ladies of Loretto, who were invited
by the Carmelite fathers to open a school for girls. The Lorettines did so with 30 students enrolled on January 6, 1906
at St. Cyril's Parish.
Loretto Academy remained all-girls' the entire time it was open, beginning as a grade and high school that accepted day
& boarding students. In 1925, it discontinued the grade school, while the boarding practice ended in 1933. The high
school continued to serve the area for several more decades.
In 1962, the school accepted students from Loretto High School
in the nearby Englewood neighborhood when it closed, which stopped the confusion of Loretto High School and Loretto Academy
(both of which were all-girls' schools that were located on the south side, and run by the same order of nuns!).
Five years later in 1967, the school reached a three-fold event. First of all, it accepted more transfer
students when St. Elizabeth
(another all-girls' school) closed. Second, it posted the enrollment to a peak of over 350 students, the most in
school history, and third, the school caught up with the changes in the neighborhood by having an all African-American
student body. This was the result of people coming from the Deep South to find better opportunities in the Windy City, which
had been begun as early as 1950.
Loretto Academy also accepted slow-learning students as the result of a program started in 1966 with the Archdiocese
of Chicago. Those students could take advantage of getting a four-year diploma as well as working experience with retail
giant Sears Roebuck for two years in a work-study program before looking for a job in a normal setting.
The school eventually consolidated with Mercy High School
(another all-girls' school) in 1972 to form Unity High School
. The Loretto Academy building was sold to a neighborhood organization, which offered adult education classes
thru Kennedy-King College. The fate of the building is unknown at this time.
Loretto Academy Quick Facts
Unity Catholic High School
School athletic information: See below