A Project by
the Museology Class
 South Chicago Schools
South Chicago Welcome Page
 South Chicago Schools
 Bowen High School
J. N. Thorp
 Arnold Mireles  / Phil Sheridan Elementary School
 Bowen High School Class of 1968 Web Site
Bowen High School Class of 1969 Web Site 
 Bowen High School Class of 1957 Web Site
Bowen High School
2710 East 89th Street

Main Entrance to Bowen High School

            James H. Bowen High School is the oldest school in the South Chicago area.  Named after James H. Bowen, “The Father of South Chicago”, it was originally located at 93rd and Houston Avenue as Bowen School.  Built in 1876, it served children of the elementary grade levels and four rooms were allocated for high school work. Bowen School developed into the South Chicago High School, which later developed into the present day Bowen High School. 
           In 1910, a new building was built at 2710 E. 89th Street, but the older school building 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 parking lot across the street of the South Chicago Fire Station serving as a parking 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 1969, a new gymnasium and an addition was added with 30 classrooms, 4 large study halls, and a two story library. 
          The Bowen building has architectural significance because of its strong resemblance to Carl 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 Chicago area.  By the 1950s and 1960s Bowen continued with its tradition of 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 was at in the 1950s and 60s, but it is presently in a period of intervention, in which officials are working to bring Bowen back to its past academic excellence. 

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