Bowen High School
2710 East 89th Street
Main Entrance to Bowen High School
H. Bowen High School is the oldest school in the South Chicago
Named after James H. Bowen, “The Father of South Chicago”, it was
located at 93rd and Houston Avenue as Bowen School. Built in
it served children of the elementary grade levels and four rooms were
for high school work. Bowen School developed into the South Chicago
School, which later developed into the present day Bowen High
a new building was built at 2710 E. 89th Street, but the older school
was not closed. It was used as a branch until approximately 1960
when it was eventually closed and later taken down. Now the site is a
lot across the street of the South Chicago Fire Station serving as a
lot for a local bank. Officially named James H. Bowen Public High
School, the current building
was built for an enrollment of 1,400, but by the mid-1930s its student
body numbered 4,600 because of the influx of Polish, Slavic, and other
immigrants into South Chicago. Because of its overcapacity, in
a new gymnasium and an addition was added with 30 classrooms, 4 large
halls, and a two story library.
has architectural significance because of its strong resemblance to
Schurz High School, a landmark building on Chicago's North Side.
Both of these buildings were designed by the architect, Dwight Perkins,
who was a Prairie school contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright.
As South Chicago
grew, Bowen came to be one of the finest high schools in the South
area. By the 1950s and 1960s Bowen continued with its tradition
academic excellence. In 1965, 73% of the senior class went on to
college. Bowen's academic standing is not quite at the level that it
at in the 1950s and 60s, but it is presently in a period of
in which officials are working to bring Bowen back to its past academic
Click on the links at the left to tour
South Chicago Schools.