The school continued to grow in enrollment, topping out at 1,171 in the fall of 1955. It
was also considered to be the largest all-girls' high school in the Archdiocese of Chicago during the 1950's. However, the
construction of the Congress (now Eisenhower) Expressway in 1955 would be a factor in the school's closing years later,
due to the displacement of families from nearby schools and parishes that might have sent their daughters to Providence.
Providence kept its' all-girls' enrollment intact until 1969 when the school merged
with all-boys' St. Mel High School to become Providence-St. Mel High School. Prior to its closing, other Catholic high schools in the
Archdiocese referred 8th graders to PHS in order to try and fill slots in the incoming freshmen classes, but it was not
successful. Even accepting remedial and adult education students did not help the school stay open on its own two feet.
In addition to the construction of the highway, the racial changes that also occurred in
the West Side neighborhood during the 1960's were another reason as to why the school merged with St. Mel.
According to Brother Tom Hetland, who serves as Alumni Director for the St.
Mel Alumni Association, "At that time (1969), the boys merged with the girls and all created Providence-St. Mel in the
Providence HS building at Central Park and Jackson. When Providence-St. Mel began as a merged school, both the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of Providence were still
Although it is no longer operating under the auspices of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Providence-St.
Mel is still open today at the same Central Park Avenue location that Providence students attended on Chicago's
West Side after parents and administration fought to keep up it open in 1978.
FACTS ABOUT CHICAGO PROVIDENCE HIGH SCHOOL
Year opened (as Our Lady of Sorrows):
First graduating class (2): 1891
Changed name to Our Lady of Providence & moved: 1898
Year renamed Providence High School:
New building opened:
Now used as:
Providence-St. Mel HS
"Daughters of Providence High"
Courtesy of MARY MENARD
Life is at its Maytime;
Never such a gay time...
All the earthy's a garden fair.
Come, from your very soul,
All youth and innocence dare.
Friendship's all around us;
Let it me said of us,
Hand in hand, and eye to eye,
Grand, what's ahead of us;
Let it be said of us,
Flowers bloom when we pass by.
Life waits us, glorious;
Daughters of Providence High.
There's God in the sky above us;
Sweet Mary to plead our part;
Strong angels to guide us,
A Saviour beside us,
Gay courage in ev'ry girl's heart.
All earth is one happy highway,
With Heaven our sunlit goal.
Go swing along
All the world
Sisters in soul.
No task and no odds will daunt us;
We laugh in unconquered might.
Take the earth,
Make the earth
Stake the earth
Captive for God and right.
To stars we have hung our banners,
Our colors against the sky.
Together we'll go girls;
Glory we'll know, girls,
Daughters of Providence High.