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Chicago Harvard School Building
chicagoharvardhs.jpg
http://wibiti.com/images/hpmain/949/160949.jpg

Original Chicago Harvard High School Building
chgoharvardschooldav.jpg
Submitted by Ellen DePriest

                               The History of Chicago Harvard School
 
Chicago (population approximately 2,800,000) is situated in the far northeastern portion of Illinois in the heart of Cook County. Highways leading to and from Chicago include I-55, I-57, I-88, I-90, and I-94. Several railways also take you into the nation's third largest city. Lake Michigan serves as Chicago's eastern border and was vital (and still is today) to Chicago's early growth and economy.
 
The area in which Chicago is located was first settled in the very early 1800's. The mouth of the Chicago River at Lake Michigan served as an important waterway from the east to the west. The town was organized in 1832 and chartered as a city in 1837. Chicago's population that year was 4,180.
 
By the late 1800's, Chicago was a boom town, the population increasing at a rapid rate. Along with this boom came the need for education. Residents saw to it that their children were given many opportunities. Along with the growth of public schools came the establishment of several private and parochial schools.
 
Chicago Harvard School (aka The Harvard School) was formed in 1865 by Edward S. Waters, a Harvard University graduate. Waters' plan was to have a school that would prepare boys for college and university work at Harvard and other prestigious Eastern schools. The school began at the corner of Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue, and eventually moved to the 4700 block of Ellis Avenue. Along the way, it absorbed the Princeton-Yale School and male students from the South Side Academy. 
 
The school would be a mainstay on Chicago's South Side in the Kenwood & Hyde Park neighborhoods, near the University of Chicago campus. Over time, such prominent families as Armour, Field, Walgreen, Rosenwald, Drake, Kellogg, Burnham, and Burroughs would send their sons to the Harvard School.
 
Due to declining enrollment, the Harvard School closed its doors in the spring of 1962 and was purchased by St. George School, which merged the two schools together as a co-educational facility and became racially integrated as the South Side of Chicago changed in the 1960's.
 
As you can tell above, the school building still stands today, but is now three condominiums with living space on each floor, and the gymnasium (not shown, in the rear) has been renovated into a family home. Click on the photo above and you will notice in the top lefthand corner of the building the year 1865 is engraved to signify the school's first year of operation. Then in the top righthand corner, the year 1916 is etched to show the year that this building on South Ellis was built.
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO HARVARD SCHOOL
 
Year opened:           1865
Year closed:            1962
Became known as:   Chicago Harvard-St. George High School
School nickname:     unknown
School colors:          unknown
School song:            unknown
ATHLETICS
 
The Havard School was a charter member of the Cook County League in 1888 with public schools from the city, but eventually left in 1891 and helped from the Interprepatory (aka Preparatory) League in 1895. The school was without a conference affiliation from 1907 until 1935 when it joined the Private School League. Harvard was competitive in a number of sports and helped introduce golf to its fellow conference members during its days in the Interpreparatory League. Outside of golf, the school offered football, track, baseball, basketball, and swimming to its male athletes.
 
 
FOOTBALL
 
Starting out in 1888, the Cook County League offered gridiron action as Harvard was ready to put its best against the rest of the schools in the county, winning the titles at 6-1 (according to historian Robert Pruter). The Harvardians continued their success in the Interprepatory and Private School leagues, with 12 conference titles thru 1960, thanks to information we've received from another one of fine contributors, Tom Sikorski. Here's a look at those teams:
 
1888   6-1      Cook County League Champs          coach unknown
1897             Interprepatory League Champs        coach unknown
1899             Interprepatory League Champs        coach unknown
1902             Interprepatory League Champs        coach unknown
1936             Private School League Champs       coach unknown
1937             Private School League Champs       coach unknown
1938   5-1-1   Private School League Co-Champs Coach Les Dohr
1947   7-0      Private School League Champs      Coach Les Dohr
1948   6-0      Private School League Champs      Coach Les Dohr
1954   3-1-1   PSL White Division Champs            Coach Les Dohr
                     Lost to Wheaton Academy in PSL Championship Game
1957   5-1      PSL White Division Champs            Coach Les Dohr
1960   5-1      PSL White Division Champs            Coach Les Dohr
                     Last win in school history was a 13-6 victory over Winnetka North Shore Country Day 
 
 
GOLF
 
Harvard put a team onto the links as early as 1899 when it played Chicago University School in the first-known interscholastic golf match between two Illinois secondary schools. The school may have lost by a score of 19-4, but it came back and played Chicago Manual the next year. From there, it won three conference titles during the first half of the 20th Century, led by two of the top amateur golfers in the country, Mason Phelps and Warren K. Wood (see below).
 
1901     Interprepatory League Champs           coach unknown
1902     Interprepatory League Champs           coach unknown
1938     Private School League Champs          coach unknown
 
 
BOYS' TRACK
 
Harvard was a founding member of the Interprepatory League, as it participated in the first-ever sporting event of the new alliance in June of 1895. While it was in that conference, it won one league title and also produced an Olympian in Walter Dray, who would compete in the pole vault at the 1904 St. Louis Olympics (see below). 
 
1899      Interprepatory League Champs          coach unknown
 
 
BASEBALL
 
The school's talent pool was deep enough to snare two Interprepatory League championships around the turn of the 20th Century as Harvard won on the prep diamonds of Chicago. Names of coaches and players are missing.
 
1899     Interprepatory League Champs          coach unknown
1905     Interprepatory League Champs          coach unknown
 
 
BOYS' BASKETBALL
 
Harvard added a pair of hoop titles to its trophy case in the late 1930's of the seven it collected between 1935-39 in the Private School League, competiting against the likes of Luther Institute, North Park Academy, and Woodstock Todd Seminary. Here's a check at the successes:
 
1935-36    Private School League Champs               coach unknown
1938-39    Private School League Champs               coach unknown 
 
 
BOYS' SWIMMING
 
Score one for the tankmen of Harvard! The school offered this sport in the late 1930's and won a conference titles. More information would be greatfully appreciated.
 
1937         Private School League Champs               coach unknown
 
 
FAMOUS HARVARD SCHOOL ALUMNI
 
Thanks to our good friend and Illinois prep historian Robert Pruter, there were several athletes that made their mark in the sports world from Harvard. Here's a capsulized look at them:
 

--Mason Phelps—Was a member of the Western Golf Association team that took first in the 1904 Olympic Games, and as an individual he took fifth. He won the Western Amateur in 1910.

 

--Warren K. Wood—Was the Western Interscholastic champion of 1904, and just out of high school, was a member of the Western Golf Association team that took first in the 1904 Olympic Games in St. Louis. He won the Western Amateur in 1913.

 

--Jerry H. Weber—As a top schoolboy tennis player, he won the University of Chicago interscholastic in 1914 in singles, and with his brother James won the doubles in 1913 and 1914. In the University of Illinois Interscholastic, he won the singles in 1912, 1913, and 1914, and with his brother won the doubles in 1913. He took second in the National Interscholastic at Newport, Rhode Island, in 1914. He later became a notable professional.

 

--Walter Dray—He took sixth in the pole vault in the 1904 Olympic Games, but for a while, he held the national collegiate record in the event.

 

--In addition to these four athletes, author Edgar Rice Burroughs attended Harvard in 1888. He later became famous for writing the Tarzan series of books, and was one of the first writers to incorporate his own works in order to have more control over them. In addition, he also penned the Barsoom pages about life on Mars and other science fiction novels, including The Land That Time Forgot.

 

MEMORIES

 

**From Valarie Graham:

 

"I am a 1984 graduate of The Harvard School. I see that your research is largely focused on the earlier years. I wanted to let you know that if you google a woman named Ann Tyskling you can find out a lot about the schools later years. She was the director as far back as 1968 and by the time I graduated in 1984 was still  the director and a benefactor of the school. The Harvard School colors were blue and gold. I kept my cheerleading uniform for many, many years. I can't for the life of me remember the mascot though. I know we played basketball in the Independent School League. The star basketball player in 83-84 was Pierre Ellis. There is an alumni group on facebook."

 

From Joe Anzek:
 
"Susan Gibson was principal of the school prior to 1983 and on until 1987 when Mrs. Tyskling (what an amazing school leader) retired, but remained a member of the Board of Directors, along with her daughter Karen, Dorothy Gleaves, Timothy Rand, Lindsey Gorman, etc. Mrs. Gibson became director and I was named principal in 1983.

"Mrs. Gibson refined the curriculum, organized the administrative functions and opened a new Early Childhood Center in 1985. The EC Center was very well-received and well attended. Mrs. Gibson left in 1987 to become Principal of the Beye School in Oak Park, IL. I was named Director in 1987 and left in 1989 to lead a public school in New Jersey.

"Some staff members I remember well are Max Fayn, who managed the library and taught French. Zeus Preckwinkle taught 4th grade so lovingly. Kathy George was a marvelous English teacher. Mark Jackson was an industrious math and technology teacher, Margaret Pennamon was the school secretary and did amazing work for such a long time.

"I'm not sure if I saw these alumni mentioned in your piece: Mandi Patinkin, the TV and Broadway actor/singer; Bertram Goldberg, the great Chicago architect.  William Shawn, maybe who was editor of the New Yorker for a long time.

"It was exciting to see Valerie Graham responding to your piece and noting the brilliance of Pierre Ellis for the basketball team. Ms. Graham was a superb student and student leader.

"The school tragically was the initiating point for the crime of the century when college students Leopold and Loeb kidnapped Bobby Franks from the front of the school in 1924 and murdered him in south Chicago."

Principal 1983 to 1987; Director 1987 to 1989
Joe Anzek
 

 

WE'RE OFF AND RUNNING TO FIND OUT MORE...

 

about the history of The Harvard School of Chicago, and you're invited to join us so that we can tell the story of this school that nearly stood alone for close to 100 years. Please contact us at dr.veeman@gmail.com or send your information thru the USPS at:

 

Illinois High School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631