The Academy of the
Sacred Heart (also known as the Convent of the Sacred Heart) was founded in 1876 by the Religious
of the Sacred Heart in the Diocese of Chicago as an all-girls’ school. When classes began in September that
year, 32 students were enrolled in the school at 301 North Dearborn with four nuns (including Mother Elizabeth Tucker)
As the city was pulling itself
back together from the Great Chicago Fire only five years earlier, the school continued to grow and moved to another location
on Chicago Avenue in 1877, followed by another move
to the corner of State Street & Chicago Avenue next to Holy Name Cathedral where a new convent was built.
The school accepted grade and high school students at the new location, where
the enrollment of the grade school (also known as the Cathedral School since it was a parish school) was
at 650 students. The high schoolers that attended the Academy numbered 100 during the latter part of the 19th Century.
The nuns left in 1904 due to overcrowding, and found a large residence on the North
Side near the Wrigleyville neighborhood on North Clark Street for its school.
Another move took place in 1907 to Pine Grove Avenue,
but that location was vacated in 1927 due to the growth of businesses and apartments around the school.
Sacred Heart wound up building its own location at 6250 Sheridan Road, where it housed the high school and grade school. In 1935, a boys' grade
school named Hardey Preparatory for Boys (in honor of Mother
Aloysia Hardey, one of the first and most influential American-born members from the Religious of the Sacred
Heart) was opened as a companion school to the girls' grade school. Hardey was started in the main building and
outgrew their quarters by 1960 that they moved into North Shore Womens' Club building at 6200 Sheridan Road. The school remained
there until 1972 when it was forced to move back to the main building by order of the building commissioner.
During that time that Hardey was in its own building, a double gymnasium known as the
Campbell Building was built in 1967, and the Rosemont building (which was intended as a convent for cloistered nuns) was erected
the following year.
Both grade schools remain open today on Chicago's North Side. A 2004 expansion
yielded a four-story addition, which includes classrooms, labs for science and computers, along with multi-purpose meeting
room, and a rooftop playground.
The Academy held its last high school final exam in 1993, but the spirit of the
Academy of the Sacred Heart is still alive today. An alumni association for all three schools keeps the schools together.
More about the history of the school can be found at http://www.shschicago.org/about/history.shtml.