The Rogers Park Branch of the Chicago Public Library (CPL), located at 6907 North Clark Street in Rogers Park on the Far North Side of Chicago. Formerly a suburb, Rogers Park is Community Area #1.
Rogers Park incorporated as a village in 1878. It is nine miles north of the Loop, the northernmost community area along the lakeshore.
Rogers Park is south of the suburb of Evanston, west of Lake Michigan, north of Edgewater (Community Area #77), and east of West Ridge (Community Area #2). The boundaries are Howard Street west of the L tracks and the frontier with Evanston east of the L tracks to the north, the lakeshore to the east, Devon Avenue to the south, and Ridge Boulevard to the west.
The Chicago Park District’s Rogers Park and the neighborhood of West Rogers Park are not in the Rogers Park Community Area, as one might guess, but in West Ridge. The neighborhoods in the Rogers Park Community Area are East Rogers Park (in the north) and Loyola (in the south).
There are a number of parks and beaches along the lakeshore in Rogers Park. Going in descending order from north to south, they are Howard Beach Park, Fargo Avenue Beach Park, Jarvis Avenue Beach Park, Sherwin Beach, Chase Beach, Leone Beach Park, Loyola Park, Pratt Park, Loyola Beach, and Hartigan Park. There are three parks west of the CTA’s Red and Purple lines: Pottawattomie Park, Touhy Park, and Paschen Park.
The name of Pottawattomie Park reflects the fact that the semi-nomadic Potawatomi tribe camped in what is now Rogers Park from time to time. Touhy Park, like Touhy Avenue, is a reference to Patrick Leonard Touhy (1839-1911), who named Rogers Park in honor of his father-in-law.
The southeast corner of Rogers Park is dominated by the Lake Shore Campus of Loyola University Chicago, which occupies lakefront land north and east of Sheridan Road’s right-angle turn at Broadway (formerly Evanston Avenue) and Devon Avenue. Loyola is a Jesuit tertiary school, as you might guess from the fact the Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius of Loyola. There are over forty buildings on this campus, which is home to the College of Arts & Sciences, the Graduate School, and St. Joseph College Seminary.
Jesuits founded Loyola University as St. Ignatius College in 1869. In 1906, the Jesuits down at St. Ignatius College on Roosevelt Road acquired twenty acres of lakefront land we would now say is bounded by Devon Avenue to the south, Sheridan Road to the west, and Loyola Avenue to the north. Back then, their land was covered by sand dunes.
Here, in 1909, they established a high school, Loyola Academy. Worthmann & Steinbach designed Dumbach Hall (1909), which was originally Loyola Academy.
The Jesuits built the first building they intended to be part of what became the Lake Shore Campus in 1912. Ten years later, the university organization moved northward from its old location.
In the 1920s, Andrew N. Rebori of Rebori, Wentworth, Dewey & McCormick designed the Elizabeth M. Cudahy Library (1930) and the Madonna della Strada Chapel (1939), which were built nearly a decade apart thanks to the Great Depression. I will profile the Loyola University Libraries separately at a later date.
Rebori, as explained in the AIA Guide to Chicago, reworked his original design for the Madonna della Strada Chapel in the late 1930s. The sleek building we see reflects the Art Moderne style.
The lovely Madonna della Strada Chapel was meant to stand next to Lake Shore Drive, but the highway ends a few blocks short. The northward extension of the Outer Drive of Lake Shore Drive beyond Lincoln Park at Foster Avenue (made possible because of a large-scale lakefill project) ultimately extended only as far as Hollywood Avenue in the Edgewater Community Area.
In 1991, the campus grew southward along a narrow strip of lakefront land that bends with Sheridan Road. This property had been the campus of Mundelein College, a Catholic women’s college founded in 1930 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary at the behest of George Cardinal Mundelein (1872-1939), Archbishop of Chicago (1915-1939), who cherished a hope that Loyola and DePaul would merge into one enormous Catholic university.
There are three noteworthy buildings on the former Mundelein campus. Nairne W. Fisher and Joseph W. McCarthy designed the Skyscraper Building (1930) at 6363 North Sheridan Road now known as Mundelein Center, in the Art Deco style. This fifteen-story, building was the headquarters of Mundelein College. The archangel sculptures flanking the main entrance are Uriel (Light of God) holding a book in his left hand and pointing upward with his right hand, and Jophiel (Beauty of God) holding a celestial globe in his right hand and a torch representing the light of knowledge in his left hand.
George W. Maher designed the Yellow House (1917), also known as the Adolph Schmidt House, at 6331 North Sheridan Road, which has a water lily motif. William Carbys Zimmerman designed the Piper Hall Mansion (1909), also known as the Albert G. Wheeler House, at 956 West Sheridan Road.
A.G. Wheeler, chief engineer of the Chicago Tunnel Company, gave Zimmerman a budget that allowed for Neoclassical, Romanesque, Tudor, and Prairie School details in a white Vermont marble building. Loyola uses it as a conference hall and rents it out as a wedding and wedding reception venue.
Solomon Cordwell Buenz & Associates designed the Simpson Living-Learning Center (1991) at 6333 North Winthrop Avenue. This building is noteworthy because (a) it sits across Devon Avenue from the old core of the campus and (b) it is an attractive structure unlike so many of the characterless, ugly buildings erected on the campus in the third quarter of the 20th Century. The Simpson Living-Learning Center was the first of several attractive buildings Loyola erected in more recent times, such as the Crown Center for the Humanities and the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons (IC).
Last year, Loyola announced the Lake Shore Campus would expand again as a result of the acquisition of Wright Hall 6364 North Sheridan Road from the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Summur Roberts wrote in “Sustainable Development on Kenmore Avenue,” Loyola Neighborhood News, Volume 2, Issue 9, the “east side of Kenmore will be redeveloped into what is being called the Institute for Sustainable Urban Living and Learning. This development will include an addition of a greenhouse to the south of Wright Hall, which will be developed to house a clean energy lab and teaching labs, Solutions to Environmental Problems (STEP) program, classrooms and faculty offices for the departments of Anthropology, Archeology, Mathematics, and Natural Science.”
“The Greenhouse will be used for the production of food that will supply a café in the building. The café will be open to the public. The greenhouse and adjoining labs in Wright Hall will serve as a continuous demonstration of urban agriculture creating a closed food loop; food waste will be used in the food lab as part of further student research.
South of the greenhouse will be San Francisco Hall, a first year, 442 bed residence hall that integrates living and learning sustainably. The building will be four stories on the north, step up to six stories on the south and be fully connected with the greenhouse and Wright Hall. San Francisco Hall will feature unique green technology that will help conceptualize how living practices affect energy consumption and allow students to research and contemplate how individual and collective choices affect the natural environment.”
Henry J. Schlacks designed St. Ignatius Church (1917) at 6559 North Glenwood Avenue. He had earlier designed Angel Guardian Croatian Catholic Church (1906) – formerly St. Henry’s Roman Catholic Church – at 6346 North Ridge Avenue in West Ridge.
Students from the following schools may reasonably use the Rogers Park Branch Library: the George B. Armstrong International Studies Elementary School; Chicago Math & Science Academy (CMSA) Charter School; Chicago Waldorf School; Eugene Field Elementary School in Albany Park; Stephen F. Gale Math & Science Academy (GMSA); Jordan Academy; Joyce Kilmer Elementary School; New Field Elementary School; North Shore School; St. Margaret Mary School in West Rogers Park; St. Scholastica Academy, a girls’ high school in West Rogers Park; and Roger C. Sullivan High School in Rogers Park.
In addition to the Lake Shore Campus (LSC) in Rogers Park, Loyola has the Water Tower Campus (WTC), which stretches between the Magnificent Mile of Michigan Avenue westward to State Street, in the Gold Coast neighborhood of downtown Chicago; the Stritch School of Medicine (named in honor of Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago) at the Loyola University Medical Center in west suburban Maywood, Illinois; the Retreat & Ecology Campus (formerly the Resurrection Retreat Center) in Woodstock, Illinois; and the John Felice Rome Center in Rome. Loyola also now owns the Cuneo Mansion and Gardens in north suburban Vernon Hills. In June of 2011, Loyola completed the sale of the Loyola Health System to Trinity Health, while it retained ownership of the Stritch School of Medicine and the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing.
St. Joseph College Seminary is an archdiocesan seminary rather than a Jesuit one. This is to say it produces secular priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago rather than members of the religious order the Society of Jesus.
Mundelein was the second Catholic women’s college in Chicago. Now Mundelein College is one of Loyola University’s ten colleges and schools.
This is a CPS Specialty School of International Studies.
This is a college prep charter school.
Chicago Waldorf School is an independent school with pre-school-through-8th grade classes, guided by anthroposophy, the philosophy of the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925). It is a member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America (AWSNA).
Eugene Field, Sr. (1850-1895) was a journalist who is best known now for humorous essays and poems for children. In the last phase of his life, he wrote for the Chicago Daily News and lived in the Buena Park neighborhood in the Uptown Community Area. Originally, he was buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago. In 1926, he was reinterred at the Church of the Holy Comforter, an Episcopalian parish in the extremely affluent North Shore suburb of Kenilworth.The sculptor Edward McCarten made the Dream Lady Eugene Field Memorial, which features allusions to five of his poems, unveiled at the Lincoln Park Zoo in 1922.
Stephen Gale came to Chicago in 1835 and opened the city’s first bookstore. He administered the fire department from 1844 to 1847. Gale died in 1905 at the age of 93. Within fifteen years after his death, his grandson – William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson – was elected mayor of Chicago. Gale Community Academy is a CPS Mathematics and Science Magnet Cluster school located in the North of Howard area of Rogers Park.
Jordan Academy is a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) high school that subscribes to the Comer Philosophy of education (“collaboration, consensus, and a no-fault approach to solving problems.”)
Sergeant Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918) was a poet, lecturer, literary critic, and soldier who was killed whilst fighting in France during the First Great World War. He wrote often about the beauty of nature and his Catholic faith. He is remembered principally for the poem “Trees.”
St. Margaret Mary School has pre-school, elementary school, and middle school classes.
As you might reasonably guess from the fact St. Scholastica was St. Benedict’s sister, this is a Benedictine school.
This public high school is a few blocks southeast of the Rogers Park Branch Library, south of Pratt and east of Clark. It was named for Roger Charles Sullivan (1861-1920), a rich businessman and political boss who helped put together the Chicago Machine that ran the Democratic Party in Cook County in the 20th Century and continues to dominate it, in some respects, to this day.