A regular school district was organized in 1857, with one teacher and a class of 29 students. In 1859 a new school, Central School, later Lowell School, was built at Lake and Forest. In 1879 the Ridgeland School, later William Beye School, was built to serve what is now east Oak Park. Additional schools were constructed as the population rapidly increased. Until 1873, public education was only offered to eighth grade.

School Facts

Brooks Middle School Building

Brooks Middle School

Named for Gwendolyn Brooks, poet

Originally built in 1893 as South or Washington Blvd School and later known as Emerson Junior High School; new building opened in 2002.

Julian Middle School Building

Julian Middle School

Named for Dr. Percy Julian, scientist

Originally built in 1901 as 64th Street School and later known as Hawthorne School, it was named for Julian in the 1980s; new structure opened in September 2002

Beye Elementary School Building

Beye Elementary

Named for William Beye, District 97 school board finance chairman in the late 1800s

Originally built as Ridgeland School and later known as Ontario School, the first building opened in 1879

Hatch Elementary School Building

Hatch Elementary

Named for William H. Hatch, District 97 superintendent from 1882-1917

Originally built in 1922

Holmes Elementary School Building

Holmes Elementary

Named for Oliver Wendell Holmes, Harvard professor, physician, poet and author

Originally known as North or Chicago Ave. School, and opened in 1889; new structure was built in the late 1950s
The original Holmes School

Irving Elementary School Building

Irving Elementary

Named for Washington Irving, author

Opened in 1910

Lincoln Elementary School Building

Lincoln Elementary

Named for Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of the United States

Opened in 1906

Longfellow Elementary School Building

Longfellow Elementary

Named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, poet, educator and linguist

Opened in 1894

Mann Elementary School Building

Mann Elementary

Named for Horace G. Mann, educator

Opened in 1921

Whittier Elementary School Building

Whittier Elementary

Named for: John Greenleaf Whittier

Originally opened in 1901 as Augusta Street School