I grew up in a small Ohio town, and I rode the school bus from 1st through 12th grades. My bus ride always included a country road on which every school day we saw a one-room brick school house. (SW corner of Stine Rd and Enon-Xenia Pike). As the years went by, I watched this wonderful, familiar friend fall apart. After I married, the school really began to deteriorate. Every time we visited the area I would want to take a photo of the school, but never did. Finally, when we went specifically for the task, the school was gone. It was a huge loss for me and, since that time, whenever we pass a one-room school, it is a joy to stop to take a picture or two. Thus, our collection here and on our Iowa One Room Schools blog. :oD Jill

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

McAuley School, West Chicago, IL

We used to live in Geneva, and passed this school often.  It is located west of West Chicago on Illinois Route 38 (Roosevelt Rd), south side of the street, address 1820.  It is the McAuley School, District 27, and is now a museum and used for school field trips.  We were on our way home from Milwaukee's Irish Fest in August 2008, and decided to come through our old neighborhood in the Chicago area.   While there, we made sure we drove by this school to get some shots of it.  Built in 1913 on site of an older building.

On 5/29/14 we took the following photos:


  1. This post was transferred from our other school blog when we separated Iowa from the rest of the states. The following comments were posted.

  2. Anonymous said...
    I went to school here from preschool through 6th grade. I loved every minute of it and still remember all of my teachers. It was an experience that I wouldn't trade for the world. Thank you for putting this picture out there, it helps me go back in time to a simpler world.

    April 26, 2010 9:32 AM

  3. The Piper's Wife said...
    Thank you for your comment. It was wonderful to hear :oD

    April 26, 2010 6:42 PM

  4. Erin said...
    My sister & I actually attended the last 2 years it was open. On the very last day, I remember everyone crying (including the teachers) while everyone was giving each other hugs. Didn't realize then how great we had it! Thank you So much for putting these pictures up! .. Such Great memories!

    September 9, 2010 6:05 PM

  5. The Piper's Wife said...
    Dear Erin,
    I hear the same thing over and over about other students who didn't realize how special their schooling was until it was over. Thank you so much for your special comment! :oD

    September 9, 2010 6:37 PM

  6. I attended school at McAuley and remember all of the great educators that taught there while I was a student. Ms. Stone, Ms. McBeth, Ms. Whitmire, Ms. Gretty, and Ms. Large will forever hold a place in my heart. I will also remember the my fellow students and all of the great times we had. I remember eating our lunch to classical music, and gathering elder berries to make jelly with. Thanks, McAuley School!

  7. Dear R. Blakeslee,
    How wonderful to hear of your precious times in the McAuley School. Thank you so much for your comment.

  8. I went there from preschool until 4th grade and they are the happiest moments. The teachers that someone else listed were incredible and so passionate about teaching. I remember the classical music at lunch, Spanish, prairie walks and the awesome program nights. It seems like a lifetime ago. Also something you can't explain to those that didn't attend.

    1. Thank you for visiting our blog. We've studied much about one-room schools in Iowa (as you can see from the many more schools we have on that blog) and almost everyone has fond memories of those days. We are glad to see people finding these photos and jogging memories.

  9. I don't remember it being a museum, but it is not one now. Unfortunately, the school district is just letting it fall apart. It's a shame.

  10. When we used to live in Geneva, long before photographing schools, we were told this school was preserved as a museum and that it was regularly used for school field trips. We never visited it, so I cannot verify one way or another if it was indeed used as a museum.

    On June 14, just over a week ago, we were in Geneva and drove past the school on our way to Morton Arboretum. It was in very, very sad shape. Yes, it is a shame.

  11. Do you have any additional information on the school? I grew up in the area and am now a teacher, and I'd love to know more. It's such a disappointment to watch the deterioration of such and important place, and I'm wondering if anything is currently being done to advocate for its preservation/restoration.

    1. The Restoration and Recovery Foundation is considering trying to save McCauley for educational purposes. However, it is very difficult to get any information on the property. There doesn't seem to be any group working to save it although some years ago there was a small group who tried and apparently disbanded.

  12. Hi Emy,

    No, don't know anything else about it. Just that we used to live in Geneva, and knew about the school, so we finally photographed it.

  13. here's hoping some one can come up with a solution on saving the school from the wrecking ball. we have lost way to many historic places from the past.

  14. Went to School there, so said to see it crumble.
    Here is some links to the latest Info:

  15. Hi Charles,

    Thanks for those links! In case the links are removed, here are citations:

    First link, dated 4/1/14: WEST CHICAGO – McAuley Schoolhouse in West Chicago has been named to Landmarks Illinois' 2014 list of the 10 Most Endangered Historic Places in the state.

    The schoolhouse, located at 1820 W. Roosevelt Road, was the last functioning one-room school in Illinois when it closed in 1992, according to a Landmarks Illinois news release.

    Built in 1913, the structure remains the responsibility of West Chicago Elementary School District 33, but the building is in a state of disrepair with no plans for its future use, the release stated.

    Its location on Roosevelt Road puts the building at risk of being replaced by commercial development, according to the release. Past discussions have included the possibility of moving the schoolhouse into town.

    "Its simplicity and sturdiness make the one-room schoolhouse an excellent reuse candidate, and the level of community interest in saving the schoolhouse is high," the release stated.

  16. Second link being Facebook can only be accessed by those with FB.

    Third link: McAuley Schoolhouse
    1820 W. Roosevelt Road, West Chicago
    (DuPage County)

    The McAuley Schoolhouse was the last functioning one-room school in Illinois when it closed in 1992. The schoolhouse is a simple frame, one-story building built in 1913. It is located on land that was donated by homesteader George McAuley in 1857. A school operated continuously on this land for 135 years. McAuley School is now vacant and surrounded by farmland and a landscaping business.

    The school was shuttered in 1992 when West Chicago School Districts 33 and 27 merged. West Chicago School District 33 is still responsible for the structure’s security. The building is presently in a state of disrepair with no plans for its future use or disposition. Its location on the edge of Roosevelt Road (Hwy 38) – a busy four lane highway – near Fabyan Road puts the school at risk as the area continues to see commercial development. Over the years there have been discussions about moving the schoolhouse into town, but there is question whether this is possible based on legal agreements from the school district merger and whether such a move would put the structure into public or private ownership.

    The level of community interest in saving the schoolhouse is high. Despite the District’s inability to provide financial support for a renovation project, the Board is hopeful that a proposal will emerge for its reuse. Throughout the local campaign to find a suitable reuse for the historic Wiant House (2013 Ten Most), there was much public comment about the future of the McAuley Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse served many generations of residents in West Chicago and DuPage County. People have fond childhood memories of their time at McAuley and want to share these experiences with their children, grandchildren and others.

    Because of its simplicity and sturdiness, the one-room schoolhouse is an excellent reuse candidate. There are examples that have been reused as museums, learning centers, community gathering places, offices and stores. Chicagoland examples include commercial reuse of the Yunker School in Orland Park and public and educational programming at two one-room schoolhouses owned by the McHenry County Historical Society.

  17. On a different school, has anyone ever heard of a one room school that I've heard called Hammond, Greek, or District 8? It was on Smith Road in St. Charles, Illinois right across from WalMart. Especially would love to see pictures of it. I grew up in the building long after it was made into a house. It was razed about 1998 for widening Smith Road. Thank you for any info!

  18. Anonymous,
    I can't help you, but perhaps someone reading this article may be able to help you.