A Very Brief History

of Mount Carmel High School

                         

At the invitation of Archbishop Patrick E. Feehan, the Carmelites established St. Cyril College at 54th and Jefferson Avenue (now Harper Avenue) in the fall of 1900. In the first year there were 13 students (nine of them seminarians) and five priest teachers. The following year the college was moved to 64th and Washington (now Blackstone) because of the need for a larger building and better access to public transportation. Then in 1902 the St. Cyril College Building at 64th and Star (now Dante) was completed, and classes began with 137 students and 11 faculty members.

At first the college has three departments: (1) Academic, which included both a junior high and a high school program; (2) College, a four-year program with emphasis on Greek and Latin; (3) Commercial, a three-year course. In 1918, with young men being called to serve in World War I, the college curriculum was dropped while the high school department was enlarged and improved.

In December of 1922, Father Elias Magennis, General of the Carmelite Order, and Archbishop Mundelein of Chicago agreed on the need for the immediate construction of a new St. Cyril High School Building. In the spring and summer of 1924, the present main high school building was erected by Thompson-Starrett Construction Company with Zachary Davis as the architect and William Lynch, a St. Cyril College graduate, in charge of construction. In November 1924, the new school was dedicated as Mount Carmel High School.

In the 1950s and the 1960s, Mount Carmel saw the addition of two buildings: the Student Center and the two-story Learning Center. From 1969 to the present, the campus has gradually been enlarged, beginning with the student parking lot and the athletic field on the south end of the property. As a result of a Capital Campaign Case Study that began in 1988, the campus was further expanded to include the Scott School property, the construction of a new monastery for the Carmelites in 1992, and the addition of the Graham Center, a new science and computer center on the site of the old Carmelite Monastery. 

In 2005, a much anticipated addition to the Mount Carmel High School campus opened, the Convocation Center and the McCarthy wing. The McCarthy wing contains science and computer labs as well as athletic offices. The Convocation Center contains Gilmore Hall which houses the President's Office as well as the Advancement Office as well as the Student Commons and the Cacciatore Athletic Center. 

As Mount Carmel continues to build its history in the 21st century other plans are in place to continue expanding the campus, including the renovation of the main school building, the addition of a new library and technology center, and a new auditorium and performing arts center.  To learn more about these plans, visit the Campaign for a New Century of Excellence.


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