Chicago Northwest Division/Tuley H.S. "Wildcats"

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Chgo Luther South HS

Chicago North West Division High School
Courtesy of Ellen DePriest

            The History of Chicago Northwest Division/Tuley High School
Chicago (population: 2.8 million) is located along the shores of Lake Michigan in northeastern Illinois. From its early days as a Potawatomie settlement, then as the site of Fort Dearborn in 1803, which led up to the formation of the city and its incorporation in 1833 and 1837, respectively, the "City of Big Shoulders" became a major location in the US for various reasons. Railroads and water transportation were two reasons why Chicago was one of the fastest growing cities in the country during the 19th Century.

Today, numerous railroads and highways of interstate, US, state, and local designations bring people together in the city on a daily basis, as does air traffic at O'Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago is a melting pot of people from many nationalities, making it ethnically diverse, and thus, is referred to as "the cultural, economic, and financial capital of the Midwest" (according to Wikipedia).   

Northwest Division High School was created in 1888 from what can be told, due to history we have on the former Chicago Central High School. In 1882, Chicago Central closed its doors and three other high schools (North, West, and South Divisions) took all the students. After that took place, Northwest Division opened its doors at North Claremont and Potomac and graduated it first class in 1892.

The school changed its name to Tuley High School (named for Murray Floyd Tuley, who was an influential judge in Chicago during the 1850’s) in 1908. The school closed in 1974 when Roberto Clemente High School (now Roberto Clemente Community Academy) took its place to honor the baseball Hall of Famer on Chicago's West Side. 

Tuley High School historian Dan "Max" Maxime provided the following historical information regarding Tuley High School:

"The school was established in 1888. The site for the beginning and first classes were on the third floor of the Columbus Augusta & Hoyne. The original faculty numbered three, with Franklin P. Fisk, the Founder and first Principal. He served from 1888 - 1928, an amazing 40 years.

The new building at 1313 N. Claremont, opened in 1891 and the first graduating class was in 1892. The school name changed in 1908. Judge Tuley died on December 25, 1905. The school name was changed to honor Judge Tuley in 1908. 

*Knute Rockne is Tuley's most "famous STUDENT" and not a graduate. He left school in his senior year.

*Saul Bellow is Tuley's "most illustrious graduate."

Tuley High School had several years where senior classes held two graduations, one in January and one in June. The last January graduating class was held in January of 1967.

Year originally opened:                     1888
Year name changed to Tuley:          1908
Year closed to become Clemente:   1974
School colors:                                   Blue & Gold
School nickname:                             the "Wildcats"
School song:                                     "Alma Mater"
                                         Lyrics from the Commencement Exercises Booklet
                                                         Provided by SANDRA WILLIAMS
                      Hail to thee our Alma Mater, Our dear Tuley High,
                      We have joined to sing your praises, now to do or die.
                     Sing we now to thee our colors, which we've learned to love
                     Gold so brilliant as the sunshine, blue the sky above.
                     Are thee well, our hours are ending, may we prove to you
                     Don't you hear our voices bending, Good-by GOLD and BLUE
                     Raise your voices, lift them up, Loud the chorus swell,
                     Hail to thee our Alma Mater, Tuley loved so well!
It is conceivable that Northwest Division was a member of the Cook County League and Tuley continued that affiliation plus was involved in the Chicago Public League while it was in operation. Noted high school historian Robert Pruter tells us that Northwest Division High School is also credited with being the first public high school in Chicago to have a gymnasium. The school did not win any team titles in the Cook County League, and even though it was a charter member of the Chicago Public League, it did not win any team titles thru 1939.
For certain, we know that track and cross-country were offered at Northwest Division, while baseball and track were available at Tuley. It may have been possible that other sports such as football, basketball, and wrestling were played at the school, but there are no win-loss records to prove that they were offered.
Whether or not the female students competed in athletics is unknown, but one would want to believe that the school offered other activities to round out a student's experiences such as speech, debate, drama, band, chorus, and dances. We would enjoy hearing from a Tuley grad or interested person that knew the school's history to contact us with more information.
Northwest Division was competitive on the cinder tracks around the state of Illinois, coming home with a top-five finish at the state meet in 1901 and having several individuals bring back some medals for their efforts at the finals in Champaign-Urbana (where they were held at the time), which includes the all-around talent displayed by Frederick Speik. As Tuley, the school brought home medals in the shorter (or speed) events.
As Northwest Division

1898 George Bergbom                     440-yd dash---3rd place
Herbert Ahlswede                   Shotput---2nd place
1900 Ernest Quantrall                      High Jump---2nd place

          1   Chicago Englewood                 20  
          2   Taylorville                                   18  
          3   Aurora West                               15  
          4   Chicago Northwest Division    9   
               Decatur HS                                   9
        Ernest Quantrall                  High Jump---2nd place 
        Frederick Speik                   Discus---3rd place 
                                                        Hammer---3rd place
                                                        Shotput---2nd place
                                                        Standing Broad Jump---3rd place 
As Tuley
1907 John Devine                         880-yd run---2nd place
1909 A.N. Sheriff                           220-yd hurdles---4th place
1911 R.G. Solum                           220-yd hurdles---4th place
1912 R.G. Solum                           440-yd dash---4th place


At the time of researching this page, we were made aware that the school (listed as Northwest Division) did compete in this event, according to Robert Pruter. In November of 1907, Northwest Division along with McKinley, Medill, Crane, Austin, and Oak Park were involved in a meet on the west side of Chicago. Nothing more has been found about Northwest Division's harriers.

Knute Rockne, famous coach of Notre Dame University football from 1918 to 1930, was a student of Northwest Division High School, Notre Dame, and a member of the College Football Hall of Fame. A nice history of his life can be viewed at .
Although there are no win-loss records to prove that the school did offer this sport on the IHSA website (, we do know that a Tuley grad did make his way to the professional ranks. Mel Beckett was a center that went on to letter at Indiana in 1950-51, then found himself in a starting role at the same position with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League from 1953-56. Beckett was an CFL all-star in 1956, but was killed in a plane crash while returning home from the game at Vancouver in December of that year.
In his memory, Beckett's number 40 jersey was retired by the Roughriders, and a trophy that bears his name along with that of another teammate who was killed in the same plane crash (Mario DeMarco) is awarded annually to the top lineman in the CFL's Western Division.
Thanks to prep historian Tom Sikorski, we have been able to find an history on Tuley's football program, which began in 1941, and it is possible that Beckett could have played at the school before he went to Indiana. It took a while for the school's program to achieve a winning record, but there was success on the gridiron for the Wildcats.
1941  0-7  (first team)                                        coach unknown
1947  6-2  (first winning record)                        Coach Jim Tortorelli
1952  5-3  Blue North Division Champs        Coach Jim Tortorelli
1953  6-1  (good record!)                                  Coach Jim Tortorelli
1954  4-3                                                           Coach Jim Tortorelli
1961  5-3                                                           Coach Jim Tortorelli
1962  6-2                                                           Coach Jim Tortorelli
1963  6-3 Blue Northwest Division Champs Coach Jim Tortorelli
1964  8-1 (excellent record!)                             coach unknown
1965  6-2-1                                                        coach unknown
1971  5-3                                                           Coach Bill Galluzzi
1973  3-4-4 (last team as Tuley)                       Coach Bill Galluzzi
Tuley enjoyed two spring seasons with a trip to the state tournament to take its place to represent the Chicago Public Schools system as one of best in Illinois, prior to the two-class system. One of those seasons was in the school's final year of operation before it changed its name to Clemente.

1958  17-8   Qualified for State Tourney    Coach Max Nieberg

                                     Lost 11-4 to Des Plaines Maine Township in quarterfinals

             1974  24-7   Qualified for State Tourney    Coach Rich Tomoleoni

                                     Lost 4-1 to Northbrook Glenbrook North in quarterfinals


--Joe Grabowski— notable professional basketball player with Chicago, Indianapolis, and Philadelphia from 1949 to 1961, doing so without going to college. He was discovered playing semi-pro ball with independent teams after high school before he signed with Indianapolis.


--Harold Atteridge-- was a lyricist and librettist on Broadway, working for the Shuster Theater chain. More about his works can be found here: and


--Saul Bellow— notable novelist, whose works were inspired by his growing up in Chicago, the best known works being The Adventures of Augie March, Herzog, and Humboldt's Gift


--Sydney J. HarrisChicago Daily News columnist in the 1950s and 1960s.


--Allen Sherman – was born Allan Copelon, he became a nationally known comedian, especially after his hit, “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh!” became a huge sensation in 1963. 


--Jule Styne – notable composer-songwriter of many standards, including "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," and "People."


--Mike Todd – motion picture producer and showman, was married to actress Elizabeth Taylor at the time of his death in a 1958 plane crash.


--Sam Wanamaker – worked as both a director and actor in motion pictures and television, and in theater, was most responsible for rebuilding the Globe Theater in London.



From Sandra Williams (Class of 1960):
"I am from the 1960 June Class of Tuley. I was looking for a picture of the school and came across your site. I found many of your facts very interesting. I do remember the baseball team going down state. It was a big deal then - we had a great team."
From Ruperto Aguirre (former student, attended fall of 1961):
"Is there someone directly now with the old Tuley High School or now with Roberto Clemente (Academy) that can help me?
"Let me briefly explain: When my father passed away on August 14th, 1961, my mother sent me to live with my brother in Chicago, and for four months thereafter I was enrolled at Tuley H.S. on Western Avenue is all that I recall. Now I am 67 years of age and have never forgotten the teachers that were kind and good to us.
"My parents had 14 children and I was the one that left home to live in shelter houses and hobo camps across the country. Once living on the streets of Chicago, I belonged to a neighborhood youth group called "The Latin Counts" of 18th Street and would like someday to see them or have contact with them again.
"I know some of them might have gone to Tuley. But all that I know are there first names and they are: Louie, little Ray, and more importantly was our leader "Sal," who I have featured in my autobiography ("Midnight Confessions") and life's journey. Besides that book, I've written various others but my memories of the city of Chicago and its great people have always been close to my heart"
"My name that I used in Chicago was "Rusty" and I am trying to reach some of those members of the "Latin Counts" that I briefly knew when I was in your city.
"At 17 years, I rode box cars throughout the United States but I have never forgotten those memorable times I had as a youth in Chicago... please contact me at Thank you and anxious to hear from you, Ruperto Aguirre."
From Nydia Esther Cruz Terracina (class of 1968):
"I graduated in 1968. My name then was Nydia Esther Cruz. In the film/tv industry my name is NYDIA RODRIGUEZ TERRACINA. I married my high school sweet heart Vidal Rodriguez, who also went to Tuley. He died in 1980 in a motorcycle accident. I then remarried Mr. Terracina - married 30 years!


"If you happen to look me up in the IMBD movie site...all the features I have worked on are listed under that name. I am not trying to toot my horn but I DO get a "kick" out of saying "from Humboldt Park, Tuley High to the big screen!"...and reflecting that back then...I had NO idea where I would end up!  I have the BEST memories from Tuley High School...I absolutely loved it there! The teachers were so upright and fair in the treatment of students.We were treated with such respect!


"I happened to look up your site because my daughter was telling me about her upcoming 10 year high school reunion. I was telling her that our graduating class was large. I tried to looked it up on your site and unfortunately I couldn't find the number. It was held at the "Armory" located at the corners of Kedzie and North Anenue. Do you happen to know the size of the 1968 graduating class? Thank you so much for your time and energy! With regards, Nydia. Go WILDCATS!"



From Francisco Villarreal (Class of 1971):


"My name is Francisco, but the 1971 yearbook has me down as Anthony, I graduated in 1971 I was on the basketball team in 1970 They call me (Hopper) because of how high I jumped that name comes to me since Grammar School, a friend named Peter Estrada gave me that name and it stayed with me till High School.  


"I love that name and many people knew me by that name only. Any way I just wanted to leave some Comment for you or who ever is reading this I LOVED TULEY HIGH SCHOOL some of my best years of my life you can say are in my memories with Tuley I had lot's of friends, partied, had lots of girlfriends, and I enjoyed going to school, never had any bills to pay or problems, never worried about what was going to happen to me or where was my life going all I did was in joy life.


"Now, I have a family, bills to pay, a very responsible job a carrier, problems in the world, wars, a no good President that we don't know where the country is going, the music is different these day--it wasn't like the olden days when you can really here the music and enjoy it. What's this rap music now? That's that all about I hate it. Stress everywhere am older now not sick thank god but I do have to take care of my self not like when I was a teenager.


"So you see, this is why I miss my golden years at Tuley. Why do we have to change? I'll never know why. Well, I am glad of my life right now because I have what I have because of a good education from Tuley and I want to thank you for that, I'll see you who's ever reading this and I hope you have time to reply on this short story of my and how I miss those Years. God Bless. Tony Villarreal (HOPPER)"



From Rita Hernandez (class of 1971, from June 5, 2021):


"(I was) happy to read Tony (Hopper) Villarreal's story.


"I remember my English teacher Mrs. Liberian. She always checked on me since I was a new student from Albuquerque. NM. Also my zero-period woodshed teacher.


"I enjoyed typing on the verityper. I can't recall the other classmate who also typed. I see remembeclassmates. We typed for the school paper.


"I was very shy & homesick coming to a big city was frightening. Sad to find out no one knows what happened to all the memorable. It will be 50 years (this year and) wish we could have a reunion. 


"I moved back to Albuquerque, but my siblings still live in Illinois. Hope to hear from more classmates!"



From Patricia Falbo (Class of 1963) who tells us this bit of Tuley HS information:

"I think our class was one of the last that had the split grades which were A and B. (A graduating senior was 4A while those who just became seniors were 4B.)"


and you can help us out with telling us more about Northwest Division/Tuley High School. Just submit your information to us by clicking on this CONTACT US link or send an email to Things like win-loss records, names of other notable graduates, and just memories of the school are nice to have. For those who prefer regular mail, here is our address:
Illinois High School Glory Days
6439 North Neva
Chicago, IL  60631