Walter Loomis Newberry
Walter Loomis Newberry, 1804–68, American merchant and banker, b. East Windsor (in the section now South Windsor), Connecticut. In 1822 he entered the shipping business with his brother Oliver in Buffalo, and in 1826 they went to Detroit, where they established a prosperous dry-goods business. In 1833 he moved to the newly established town of Chicago, where he had previously made extensive investments in real estate. He engaged in the commission business, prospered, and later entered banking and also became president of the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad. He was active in civic affairs, founded the Young Men's Library Association, and made numerous philanthropic gifts. His will provided for the founding and endowment of the Newberry Library in Chicago, a free reference library that specializes in the fields of history, literature, music, and philology and has gained an international reputation.
(Source: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.)
A New Chicagoan
Connections to the Great Chicago Fire
The school served as a temporary hospital for the next month, housing approximately 600 people under the supervision of then-Principal Corydon Stowell. The school was re-opened on November 13th, 1871 with 575 students.
(Source: Andreas, A.T., History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, Vol. 2. The Lakeside Press, 1885.)
1937: Project Completed (for now)
Newberry was built in Art Deco style. For more information on school building styles in CPS, visit The Evolution of Chicago Public School Design
Danish-born John C. Christensen became the head Chicago Board of Education Architect in from 1926-28, then from 1931-1959. His philosophy of school architecture in the 1920s quotes him saying, ''I'm designing every new public school as a complete and independent unit, absolutely different from every other school in the city." The concept of using a variety of architectural styles for schools in the public school system-such as Neoclassical, Gothic Revival, and Tudor Revival was startling at that time. He also designed many new schools in the Art Deco and Modern styles including our very own Newberry.
Ordinances & Early Contracts
(Left) A procession of 8th grade boys from the class of 1956 walks through the gymnasium for the yearly ribbon pinning ceremony.
(Source: Photo donations from Mr. Don Kamps, class of '56)
A primary source is material that was created at the time being studied. It can be a document, a recording or an artifact. It serves as an original source of information about the topic. Primary sources are distinguished from secondary sources which usually are analysis, commentary or a filtered account of the topic. Suggested primary resources can include:
DiariesCorrespondenceDescription and TravelPersonal NarrativesSourcesMemoirsJournal
(Source: UIC - Educational History in Chicago: Primary Sources)
The Iroquois Theater Fire of 1903
The tragedy would be a wake-up call to the city—and the nation—and lead to reforms in the way public spaces took responsibility for the safety of their patrons. A spark from a stage light ignited nearby drapery. Attempts to stamp out the fire with a primitive retardant did nothing to halt its spread across the flammable decorative backdrops. Days later, the Chicago Tribune ran a list of regulations that had been flouted by the Iroquois, including the lack of an adequate fire alarm, automatic sprinklers, marked exits, or suitable fire extinguishing devices. Even the two large flues on the rooftop where the smoke and flame could have vented out were boarded shut. The newspaper called for action, prompting nationwide fire safety upgrades to public buildings.
Newberry School benefited from a vast number of interior upgrades to their floors, hallways, windows and doors in 1904.
(Source: The Iroquois Theater Disaster Killed Hundreds and Changed Fire Safety Forever ,Smithsonian Magazine, June 2018)
1958: Centennial Celebration
Transition to a Magnet School
In 1980, the Chicago Board of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice entered into a desegregation consent decree which, among other things, required CPS to implement a voluntary desegregation plan designed to create and maintain as many racially integrated schools as possible. CPS utilized a variety of methods, including magnet schools, as a means to achieve this goal.
(Source: CPS Magnet & Consent Decree webpage) .