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Our Historic Campus

Sacred Heart Schools, 146 years in Chicago

In 1876, just five years after the Great Chicago Fire, Mother Elizabeth Tucker and three other Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ) arrived from St. Louis to open a school for young women.

They found a bustling town and moved into a small house on Dearborn Street, which their school quickly outgrew. The sisters joined the building boom, erecting a building at State Street and Chicago Avenue adjacent to Holy Name Cathedral. At this new facility, the Religious operated two schools: the Academy, which had an enrollment of approximately 100, and a parish school, known as the Cathedral School, whose enrollment soon swelled to more than 650.

In 1904, the sisters relocated the Academy to a large residence on North Clark Street and then in 1907, purchased twin houses on Pine Grove Avenue in the Lakeview neighborhood.

With enrollment continuing to grow, the Religious decided in the spring of 1927 to construct a new school building at 6250 North Sheridan Road, which remains the heart of our campus.

Photo descriptions from top left in clockwise rotation: Sacred Heart Convent on State Street in Chicago (Circa 1876); Academy graduating class of 1883; Hardey students in the cafeteria (Circa 1957); Original Sheridan Road Chapel

Hardey Prep and the School of Today

From its founding to the opening on Sheridan Road, the Academy of the Sacred Heart was an all-girls elementary through high school. In September 1929, a few boys joined the student body. Soon, the boys’ parents began to desire a school just for them. In 1935, Reverend Mother Rosalie Hill established the elementary-only Hardey Preparatory School for Boys, named in honor of Mother Aloysia Hardey, one of the first and most influential American-born Religious of the Sacred Heart.

Sacred Heart's leadership made the strategic decision to close the high school, with the final class of 12th grade girls graduating in 1993, making both Hardey Prep and the Academy K-8 schools. Today, boys and girls learn in separate classrooms from 1st grade on, but experience other aspects of campus and community life together. The student body of 700 is equally divided by gender.

Facilities Expansion

The Campbell Building gymnasium was added in 1967. The Rosemont addition was built the following year as a residence for nuns (it is now largely office space). Having acquired the historic R.F. Conway House in 1959 (where Hardey Prep once held classes), the campus had grown to occupy the entire east side of its block of Sheridan.

In May 2004, a 33,000-square-foot academic wing, known as Sheridan South, was dedicated by Francis Cardinal George. It added science and computer labs, a new library, multi-purpose meeting room and 12 classrooms. In December 2015, the multi-purpose room was refurbished and four new 5th grade classrooms were added to the Sheridan South Wing, replacing what was a rooftop playground space. Plans are currently underway for expanding the current Sheridan Road playground.