St. Cyril College: foundation for today’s Mount Carmel
St. Cyril College, the predecessor of Mount Carmel High School, opened in September 1900 at the request of Archbishop James Feehan, who invited the Carmelite fathers to start a college in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
The original school building was located at 54th and Jefferson [now known as Harper Avenue] and started with about 15 students enrolled.
Soon, the Carmelite fathers found a more desirable location that was open in Woodlawn during the next school year. The school moved to 64th and Washington [now Blackstone].
The new building was ready by August 10, 1902, and welcomed 137 students getting instruction from 11 faculty members in elementary, prep, commercial and college curriculums.
Only six students graduated in 1906 receiving their Bachelor of Arts degrees. In 1910, St. Cyril dropped seventh and eighth grade classes, which meant that there were only three departments: academic, college and commercial.
St. Cyril’s college department was closed in 1918 due to a decrease in enrollment because of World War I, which lead into the growth of the academic department. In 1922 both the Carmelites and Chicago Archbishop George Mundelein agreed that the institution should focus on its high school program, so the decision was made to construct an entirely new building and to hire additional new staff that would be needed to handle an expected increase in enrollment.
The new school was built between May and September in 1924, and when opened was renamed Mount Carmel High School on November 9, 1924.