History

One of Chicago’s most beautiful historic buildings, the Graeme Stewart Elementary School was named after prominent Chicagoan businessman Graeme Stewart, an important figurehead in Chicago at the turn-of-the-century. Throughout his life, Stewart served as the President of the School Board, a confidant of President McKinley, was responsible for Illinois being awarded the Great Lakes Naval Training Facility, and ran for Mayor against Carter Harrison in 1903. Stewart died in 1905 after a short illness, just days after the Board of Education published its annual report with the recommendation that a school be constructed on Kenmore Avenue, further influencing the decision to name it after him.

To accommodate the wave of people moving to the Uptown neighborhood due to the extension of the Northwestern Elevated train line in 1900, the Stewart School first opened in 1907, and was designed by famed architect Dwight Perkins, who served as Architect for the Chicago Board of Education from 1905-1910. Perkins was considered an innovative thinker in his day, infusing his desire to better serve children by providing social space, amenities and programming into the traditional classroom mix.

Around the time the school opened, the El train expanded north to Evanston from Wilson Ave, which attracted more people and development to the area. Within ten years, Stewart School was at capacity and demand for enrollment continued to grow. In 1940 an addition was completed to accommodate additional students. The school was home to students for more than 100 years, before closing in 2013 due to enrollment declines.

Morningside Group, a builder, developer, and property manager, purchased the school in early 2016 through the Chicago Public School’s Building Repurposing and Sale Program, with plans to revitalize the school to its former splendor and convert the interior space into modern apartments with historic details. Apartment move-ins are expected to commence in early 2018.