Three LANE Schools over a Clay Pit

 On January 18, 1930, Paul Gerhardt Sr. the Board of Education architect released plans for three schools to be built in the shadow of Riverview Amusement Park on a former clay pit on the southwest corner of Addison and Western in Chicago.

alb gAll three schools were to be named after Albert Grannis Lane, a renowned educator. There was to be the Lane Junior College, Lane Technical High School and the Lane Trade School. Due to the financial problems caused by the depression, only one building, the Albert G. Lane Technical High School was completed. In 2004 it was renamed to the Lane Technical College Preparatory High School.   

Please read on as we celebrate Albert, the early years of Lane Technical High School and the clay underneath

THE BEGINNING

His name was Albert Grannis Lane born March 15 1841 in the Gale Farm farmhouse somewhat northeast of Oak Park. He was the oldest of eight children, the son of Elisha Batchelder Lane 1815-1884, a carpenter, and Amanda Melvina Grannis 1821-1906.   He married Francis M Smallwood 1844–1932, a schoolteacher.

Albert G. Lane earned an appointment to be principal of Franklin School just after leaving high school, becoming the youngest in the history of the Chicago Public Schools system. In 1869, Mr. Lane became Superintendent of the Cook County schools where he made many innovations to improve the quality of the public schools. He had a vision to create a large high school dedicated to providing students with hands-on experiences in technical education while developing and enhancing their academic skills.

THE “OLD” LANE

Albert’s first school opened in 1905 as the Thomas Hoyne Manual Training high school with 81 pupils

.VO84B On Washington’s Birthday, February 22, 1909, the Albert Grannis Lane Manual Training High School opened at 1225 North Sedgwick Avenue at Division Street. Costing $765,523 it could only house 1600 students. Sadly, Albert never saw the opening of the new building.

. By 1915, the students could take advantage of a wide array of technical and trade classes well beyond the regular academic subjects. A student could take carpentry, cabinet making, wood turning and joining. In the metal trades there was foundry, core making, molding, forge, and welding, There was a machine shop equipped with 80 machines and 60 lathes cast and built at Lane.lanetechmachineshoplbs1251nmnnnkklane-tech-foundryweld 35 6m33f6b fixedfoundry 35There was radio engineering to learn transmitters and electrical engineering where could students build motors, generators, transformers, and other instruments.

hytffThere was a bake shop for breads and pastries where my Uncle learned a trade. Other classes included automotive shop, airplane construction, fundamentals of flying and a boat shop. uhjytgfimagesMYV93MWV

 

 

There was art, classical architecture, music, mechanical drawing as well as clubs for every interest.

 

The school song “Go Lane Go” was written by Jack T. Nelson, class of 1915 an assistant conductor of the Lane Orchestra, manager of the Glee Club and an accomplished musician.

 

 

A SERIOUS PROBLEM

By the 1930s, the “old” Lane had a student population of over 7,000 boys. nhjkkThe Sedgwick building which held only 1600 was seriously overcrowded and thousands of overflow students were assigned to an Adams branch at 849 Townsend street, a Stockton Elementary school branch, the Beaubien Elementary school branch, three other branches, as well as five park fieldhouses, and 61 portable buildings. A new campus was sorely needed.

THE CLAY PIT

modified brickyardThere was this massive clay hole stretching from Riverview Amusement Park (originally Schuetzen Shooting Park) north to Addison Avenue and beyond. Chicago needed bricks in the decades after the Chicago fire to build thousands of houses and other buildings. The land bounded by Belmont, Western Avenue, the north branch of the Chicago river and on north toward Irving Park Road (then Graceland Avenue) was a massive clay deposit where several independently owned brickyards produced the classic Chicago brick until the clay was depleted. Weckler Brick Company and the William Birch brickyard were two that were formerly on land, now Lane. Also, according to the history of Lake View, Thurlow and Kuester brick company also worked the clay pit that is now the site of Lane.

The land was barren and inhospitable. Pollution from the brick kilns were a constant problem. A cattle feed lot at Addison (shown as Warner Avenue on one Sanborn map) and the river added to the miserable landscape. Back in 1892 a crudely built dam on the North Branch of the Chicago River built by the brickyard companies gave way and flooded a half square mile area. Houses had 5-6 feet of water. Six brickyards were submerged. Millions of bricks were destroyed. Even Sharpshooters park was under a foot of water.

Some years after the Sanborn map, many Chicago area brickyards were combined into the Illinois brick company. Even as late as 1930 Illinois Brick had three offices, one of which was the corner of Western and Roscoe.

. When the clay deposits were largely depleted the brickyards moved on to other areas. Ashes and refuse were used as fill then topped with a layer of topsoil to make the land saleable. After the brickyard era, it appears that Riverview then controlled the land for a time. Below is a Sanborn map that seems to indicate how Riverview’s property extended all the way north to Addison circa 1914 although no major rides or attractions were ever placed there. Riverview did sponsor a number of sports including baseball which might have been held in that area closer to Addison.Chicago+1914+Riverview+detail modified

Below is a composite image that I made from combining two different vintage Sanborn fire maps and a 1930s era aerial photograph of the schoolmy good one.

The brick yards, south of Addison are shown in green. The brickyard on the southwest corner of Addison and Western was the Weckler brick company. Immediately south of it was the William Birch Brickyard.

South of the school is Sanborn’s mapping of Riverview Park. In the upper left corner of the map and just west of what would later be the Lane Tech stadium was the large circular Riverview’s Stadium Motordrome opened on July 8, 1911 costing $40,000, It had 30,000 seats but could hold 60,000 – 75,000 spectators. The entrance to the motordrome was at the north end of the Riverview picnic grounds. Sometime after 1911 when the motordrome closed, a new smaller 1/5 mile oval racetrack took its place. There are many photographs of race cars and their drivers who raced at either or both the oval racetrack and the motordrome.

The area shaded pink was the “Chicago Railways Co. Loop” and car barn. It was a turnaround and station for street cars bringing thousands of people into Riverview through its own broad entrance into Riverview, separate from the iconic main gate .

brickyard to be golf july 1923As early as 1916, Addison and Western was being regarded as the future site of the school, despite the land noted as a city dump and an abandoned brickyard. Then in July 1923, the Mid City Golf and Amusement Company signed a 20 year lease from Illinois Brick. The 18 hole golf course opened July 4 1924 and occupied the land west of Western Avenue both north and south of Addison with a main entrance at Grace St.

On April 9 1926 it was finally recommended that the Chicago Board of Education purchase the 30 acres property south of Addison “now used as a golf course”, a “filled in clay hole”. The land cost was $510,000 ($17000 per acre) and initial building plans were announced in September of 1927.new lane 1930 tech prep On January 18, 1930, Paul Gerhardt Sr. the Board of Education architect drew up plans for three schools but due to the depression, only one building, the Albert G. Lane Technical High School would prevail. Ground was broken in July of 1930. At the time they envisioned the largest gymnasium to be available for “convention purposes” and as an “industrial exhibit hall”. The auditorium wouls serve public functions.

In 1931 there were mass meetings to defeat the plan to name the high school, Thomas A Edison. That plan failed and the cornerstone was laid on June 2, 1931. A lack of Finances stopped the project and work did not resume until January of 1934. Partially completed walls resting on piles sunk 85 feet which sat unprotected had begun to deteriorate.

Below is the aerial photo taken in the 1930s, not long after Lane was built, which shows both the school as well as the golf course still existing north of Addison Av..DyM_yEFWkAEjBwt

DEDICATION

 On September 17, 1934, at 2501 W. Addison, the new $6 million dollar building designed by the then school architect John C. Christensen was finally dedicated. Over 9,000 boys and faculty gathered at Wrigley Field and then walked west to the new 30 acre campus. The dedication was broadcast over WGN radio and the school name was changed to the Albert Grannis Lane Technical High School to reflect the school’s expanding curriculum. To many of us it was simply “Lane Tech.”fdd

After the dedication, the Sept 18 1934 Chicago Tribune reported:

“In a cheerful dining room seating 360 persons, officials, teachers, and others sat at flower decorated tables and were served a luncheon from model kitchens. The Mayor (Kelly) ate heartily of macaroni and cheese.”

imagesO8RC81SVThe new building in the shadow of Riverview was immense. Newspaper reports touted 607,000 square feet of space, 300 faculty & staff, 1-1/2 miles of corridors and 20 stairwells. There were 65 classrooms, 45 shops, 22 washrooms, 20 laboratories for chemistry biology physics and general science, 16 mechanical drawing rooms, 5 architect drawing rooms, 2 music rooms, 5 art rooms, 4 gymnasiums, a swimming pool, a beautiful library, an auditorium seating 2300, a cafeteria that could seat 1150.

In 1936, Lane was selected to begin an experiment at driving instruction.

drivecar

In 1936, Lane was selected to begin an experiment at driving instruction. There was a large outdoor driving course as well as an indoor driver education classroom where they used an old car cut off in front of the dash and behind the drivers seat. Shop students built the 30 wood dummy “practice cars” with dummy controls for the classroom. Traffic pictures were projected on a screen and students actions appeared on a lighted control board for the instructor to monitor.drivv

58 lane driving

 

indian

There was a greenhouse on the roof , a great sports stadium, a beautiful memorial garden and the “Shooting the Stars” statue, hidden from public view and dedicated to Lane’s war dead.

The focal point of the new building was of course the iconic clocktower. blanesclocktower fixed

There was an “off limits” room up there in the tower, few have ever seen it or knew its existence. Urban legend says that students played cards there. If any reader knows any more of that “secret” room or even made access to it, please leave your comments below.

hjhjhjbbAll space in the new building was used including the massive basement. There were a few classrooms and a bicycle storage room. There was a ROTC drill hall, a rifle range and headquarters. Rooms down there were prefixed with the number “0” such as 037.

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Early on there was a boat shop in the basement where students were building kayaks, canoes and row boats. The largest project built by students in 1941 was a government funded 32 foot long cabin cruiser weighing 10 tons. It was built in such a way that when completed it could be disassembled and removed from the basement shop.

 For decades, thousands of blue collar tradesmen from electricians to iron workers to welders and plumbers learned their craft at Lane. They went into the industries that built Chicago and earned a good living. In the 1940’s the list of shops were impressive.PHOTO_D-e1528488053372-900x407 Wood shop for freshmen, electric shop for sophomores, then choices in metalworking: including gas and electric welding, forge shop, foundry shop, Heat treating, pattern making, and aviation sheet metal. Then there was aviation shop, aviation electric shop, architecture shops, plastics shop, air-conditioning, automotive and automotive electric shops.lino A very large print shop, composition shop and Linotype shop instilled hundreds of students to enter the printing trades. The print shops using flatbed letterpress and offset presses which produced the Lane Daily newspaper, a monthly Tech Prep, and the annual Arrowhead yearbook.

daily

Some 24 technical classrooms included seven electrical, five auto, five foundry and welding, five machine shops, three graphic arts, nine woodworking and architectural wood, and twenty drafting rooms. Shop students made projects out of wood and metal that they could take home.

Many still exist and some make their way to Ebay. Students built the 300 wood and stone benches for the Lane Tech campus. The class of 1940 was one of the largest, with 2182 graduates.

And of course, in addition to the shops, there were traditional subjects in general science, biology, physics, chemistry, algebra, trigonometry, typing, English composition and literature, history and civics just to name a few.

ELEVATOR PASSES 

Lane Tech was not all study. If you were a Freshman you might have been offered some great perks from upperclassmen. For a nominal fee you might have been offered or purchased an elevator pass. (There is indeed two elevators but neither available to able bodied students.) Back in my day there were other dubious offers for left handed drafting shoes or steam heated lockers. If you care to admit to a purchase of any of these, please leave a comment.

VOLKSWAGEN STORY

There is an undocumented urban legend that a group of Lane students somehow snuck a Volkswagen into the school. It was supposedly hauled up in pieces and reassembled in an upper floor hallway during the dark of night. If anyone can confirm this story or has additional details, please leave comments.

ADMISSIONS AND GIRLS

 Lane adopted a closed admission policy in 1958 on the school’s 50th anniversary in which students must take a test and pass a certain benchmark in order to be offered admission. Lane is one of eleven selective enrollment schools in Chicago, a diverse school with students coming from different ethnicities and economic backgrounds.

 In 1971 the Board of Education approved the recommendation to admit girls to Lane Tech, but this was not the first time Lane was coed. During summer sessions and evening classes at the old Lane on Sedgwick circa 1929, girls studied dressmaking, millinery and even aviation.evening coed 1929

A NEW ERA

58 lane addison sideWhen “Lane Tech” became Lane Technical College Preparatory High School, a public 4-year selective enrollment magnet high school, the industrial shops and conventional drafting classes were closed. All the shops were removed and the rooms were repurposed to serve new technologies in a changing world. There is a Reading and Writing Computer Resource Lab, Apple Computer Lab, and a STEM wing complete with an aquaponics facility and two multi-purpose computer labs. The LTMaker Lab is equipped with laser cutters, 3D scanners, printers and carvers, vinyl cutters, and more.

The technologically advanced class courses would amaze and please Albert Lane if he were alive today. There are a wide variety of computer science classes, Media Computation , Programming Web Development, Microarchitecture Logic Design, Android Development, Physical Computing Lab, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security 3-D animation, digital design, Digital Imaging, engineering design, Sound engineering, robotics and more.

​Creative courses now include Photography, Creative Arts Studio, Printmaking, Sculpture, Contemporary Painting, Studio Drawing and Painting, Mixed Media Illustration , Independent Study Art , 3-D Design , 2-D and 3D design, Art History, Film Studies, Textiles, Fiber Art, Metalsmithing and more. In addition, Lane Tech offers over 100 other electives including many world languages such as Arabic and Latin. There are dozens of new extra-curricular activities and clubs for every interest. It is a vibrant and exciting place to learn. The old Lane Tech has been well reinvented to serve students of today.

ALUMNI

lanepatchaLane Graduates are found in every walk of life. Over its many decades, Lane has produced thousands of engineers, architects, researchers, authors, musicians, composers, singers, actors and actresses, radio TV performers, talk show hosts, news anchors, teachers, professors, police officers and firefighters, lawyers, businessmen and politicians.

Lane graduates have included Edgar Bergen the ventriloquist and radio performer best remembered best for creating Charlie McCarthy. The well known Chicago police officer and pioneering helicopter traffic reporter Leonard Baldy is a graduate. The school has taught a former governor of Illinois, a chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, a U.S. Navy admiral, a Professor Emeritus of Columbia College Chicago and a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Graduates from its music program have become members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. There has been a classical violinist, a singer and guitarist who co-founded The Buckinghams, singer, songwriter and actor Frankie Laine (born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio). One source suggests that Laine’s stage name was taken from the school.

5582503464_b6fdd83911Graduates have gone on to become major league players in the NFL, AFL, NBA, and more. There has been a former manager of the Chicago Cubs and a former General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. There has been a sports broadcaster for the Milwaukee Braves and Green Bay Packers, a head coach at Bradley, Drake and Kansas State. Teams with Lane graduates have included the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cardinals football, the Cleveland Indians. Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Browns, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, Philadelphia Phillies and others. Lane graduates have competed in the Olympics. including Johnny Weissmuller a five-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer who later became an actor, and best known for his portrayal of Tarzan in the MGM film series 1932–42

A SCHOOL THAT EXCELS

imagesGVOAZ2XTAs of 2018, Lane had a 94% graduation rate. More than 90 percent of students earn college degrees in architecture, engineering, medicine, mathematics, science, journalism, accounting, music, art, and teaching. More Ph.D’s have graduated from Lane than any other high school in the nation.

I am incredibly proud to be a graduate of Lane Tech high school, class of June 1962. My four years were some of the best years of my life. The teachers were dedicated and inspiring. The technical skills learned propelled me directly into the engineering department of a major machine tool manufacturer, while still finishing my senior year. Even though I am now retired in Arizona, I often encounter others in my travels who have proudly graduated Lane.

And if you, the reader, attended Lane, I would love to hear your story. Please add your comments, memories and class year below!

AND FINALLY…

alb g DSC_2Mega_PixAlbert Grannis Lane died on August 22, 1906 at his residence 430 west Adams, hastened by intense heat and overwork, just some six months after his mother’ death. His wife was quoted as saying, “He was all that a son could be, he was all that a church member could be, and you know what he was as a citizen and educator”. DSC_2Mega_Pix

 His funeral was at the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church on West Monroe near Morgan. Albert and his family are all buried in Rosehill cemetery, 5800 N Ravenswood on Chicago’s far north side.. He did not live long enough to see how he changed and continues to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of Chicago’s youth. His impressive legacy continues to this day.

Well done Albert!   Go Lane Go!

 

 For an additional Lane story, read “ SSSSSH This is a Library!” jugf

SHHHSH! This is a Library!

And for the story of Officer Baldy read “ Flying with the Angels”5175874_118936078345

Flying with the Angels

65 thoughts on “Three LANE Schools over a Clay Pit”

  1. Hello! I’m a proud graduate of Lane, class of 1977. This is a wonderful recap of Lane’s history, but I am disappointed with your treatment of the admission of girls in 1971. I can tell you from personal experience that the girls who where admitted in 1971, 1972 and 1973 were amazing trailblazers, many of whom are phenomenal in their own right.

    This was a huge deal in Chicago public schools in 1973. A true historical reference deserves more than a cursory glance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I meant no slight to the girls. I just knew little of that era having graduated with 600 guys in 1962. No excuse, but I had way more material and photos for the article, but was afraid of excessive length. Maybe I might do a part two?

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  2. Class of 2020! This was a great read, thank you for sharing. While our current amenities are fantastic, having those technical classes today would be a dream!

    I’m not sure about the clock tower, but the basement sure is rumored often.

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    1. Having attended Lane Tech,,,and graduating in the class of 68′,,all I can say is ,,,lot’s of good memories.Practicing Football while the riverview roller coasters were still going by,,,,the awesome feeling of playing in the “Stadium”,and who can forget the time the guys got into a Fasano Pie delivery truck across the street,,and a pie throwing event happened. The next day,,it was on the loudspeaker first thing in the morning. Mr.Durante and co. were on the look out for all the perps involved in that.I had one visit to Mr.Mazarakos office,,,and that was the last time. In all,,I look back with pride being able to attend the finest High School in Chicago.I still have my sweater,,it is folded up neatly ,and occaisionally I take it out,put it on and think back to a time when we were proud to wear the school colors. Thanks for the memories ! P.Platt Class of 68′

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    2. Great article, gives me a lot of pride. I am class of 89, my sister is class of 91, and my little sister also graduated from Lane, cannot remember what year. My fondest memories are from those 4 years at Lane. If there was a time I could go back to, it would be any of those 4 years. I passed biology because for extra credit work, I use to take care of the garden, the one in the middle with the Indian. My Biology teacher, Mr. Keating was awesome, he let me and a fellow classmate do that in order to pass….. I live in Texas now, but everytime I go home for a visit, I take a ride by Lane. I showed my wife and my kids where I went to school. My wife thought it was a college….

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  3. got a job from Mr Tabor, a botony teacher, maintaining the greenhouse. I would go up there during my study hall. It was so peaceful and bright. Heat pipes running under the potting tables and the sun shining through the glass would keep it nicely warm in the winter. The view was great. In the warm days before the end of the school year, I’d open the greenhouse vents to let the warm air in. There was a small building/room that the stairway door opened into upon reaching the 5th floor. There was actually two greenhouses. I think the original had a second added on at some point. You had to go up a step or two to enter into the continuation into the second greenhouse. In the first greenhouse, there were 2 large galvanized cattle watering tubs. Lily pads and large goldfish were in one and turtles in the other. From the 5th floor small greenhouse landing, there was a small stairway leading to the clock room. I never had the guts to actually go into the room, but looked in a number of times. Inside was the central mechanism of the clocks with extensions to the reverse sides of the clock faces that were translucent, if I remember correctly. I believe that I worked up there in my sophomore year, 65-66. it was one of my fond memories of Lane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for a great reply!!! You are the first to mention the clock room. I knew it was there but never got in. Rumors abounded. I hadMs. Dreesen rather than Tabor but both were very nice. n fact almost every teacher inspired me to be a better student.

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    2. I also had Mr Tabor as a biology teacher in 65-66. He was so proud of the greenhouse and the Memorial Garden. We went up there once as a class, no deviating from the route he took us on, so we didn’t see the clock room.

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  4. You have awakened my pride.
    I was a 5 year man.
    I met one of the first women to attend.
    Years later we married
    We are still together.
    I met some of the best fellow students
    Some great teachers
    Some other than great
    The tales would make a great tv series
    Or lawsuit today
    It was high school
    It was then

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Stanley Rembiszewski, June 1964, hall guard, rover, fishing club (J.P. Connors), IM bowling, proud to have graduated from Lane. While co-ed was not official until 1971 (my daughter Rhonda attended) it should be noted that the early transformational process actually started in 1963. Do you also remember the punishment for not wearing a belt, with your trousers? You were given a rope to wear until end of day! The most surprising thing that I can recall was the replacement of “Froggy” Omara by Principal Bell, who was also the principal of, previously, the Grammar School I attended, Casimir Pulaski, 2230 W. McLean Av. Reading this brings back many old memories, tainted with goodness. Do you recall the soda shop on the northwest corner of Addison and Western and McGovern’s across the street? Or how about the cafeteria that wrote the manual of 101 ways to destroy hamburger? There are so many more things that could be added like the hall of fame, with the trophys of so many championships throughout the years. My father also attended, but that was the old lane at Division and Sedgewick. I truly enjoyed reading the article.

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    1. Thanks so much for a great comment. You bring back many great fun facts. Not wearing a belt seemed like a class x felony punishable by 6-40 years. Magic markers was another. How can I forget Froggy. There was a chant when the intercom chimes rung ”twang your magic twanger, froggy” Ibwas mostly a lunchroom nerd at 37 cents a meal, 17 for a chocolate sundae. 5 cents bowl of rice with gravy. And don’t forget Mr Riesz and his drafting supply store. he goes back to the old lane I discovered. I may have to put all this stuff into one more blog along with all the rest of the great comments. hmmm

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    2. Hi Stanley. I remember you also from our senior year. Good looking picture on page 88. Did you make the 50 year reunion? Robert Janke, page 67. I liked “Froggy”. I remember the old ladies who made the ice cream in the cafeteria. Do you want “marsh” with that?

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  6. The summer of 1969 I attended a typing class at Lane. It was an enjoyable experience since during regular school time I attended a Catholic girls’ high school.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am a proud graduate from the class of 1986. I find it interesting that the careers listed in this article did not include tradesmen. For a school built to hone the skills of trade, I am disappointed we were not included. I have gone on to become a carpenter and closing in on 30yrs now. Some of the best years if my life go back to those days and I have dozens of fond memories of Lane Tech. I also feel that, in a way, Albert G. Lane would be a bit sad that trade classes and classrooms have been removed from the school. It’s evident in this technological age, that there is a lack of skilled workers and that does not bode well for the future of construction. Thanks for posting this history!

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  8. I went there from 1974 till 77, but didn’t graduate. I took all the shop classes I could, also drafting, while in the math & science program. Never did any homework. I still occasionally have dreams about the place.

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  9. I was not College bound. I was a Manual Labor kind of guy and wish they would bring back the Shops. We are in dire need of Tradesmen. My career route went by way of the USMC and after my Active Duty, I got married, Enlisted in the Reserves and retired as a Master Gunnery Sergeant. I raised 2 wonderful children, a Boy and a Girl, and 3 unbelievable Grandsons. I took a job as a Metal Polisher and did that until my Appointment to the Chicago Police Department in 1982 where I was promoted to Sergeant in 1996 and retired in 2010. I am a full time Grampa now and am loving my life with my wife of 47 years, who BTW was my Prom Date as we have been together for almost 50 years now and counting. I learned a lot at Lane, although the 60’s are a blur. I keep in touch with quite a few Lane Tech Alumni being on the Reunion Committee for the 30, 35, 40, 45 and soon to be the 50th Anniversary with the Class of 1971. Lane Tech instilled a sense of pride into a lower middle class kid from the Noble Square neighborhood which carried over to later life. A life of Service to our Country and fellow Man as well as a love of Family that has transferred to my children and grandchildren. Go Lane Go….

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  10. Loved this article (and almost ALL the others posted on ChicagoandCookCountyCemeteries)! Me too 1962 Lane Grad. How about other rumored hi-jinx I heard… cooking pizzas in the foundry ovens, throwing live 22 shells in the foundry ovens and in aviation shop filling the radial engine airplane engines with baby powder and when cranking the engines up with the magneto starters the baby power would shoot out through the empty spark plug holes in a spectacular circular display. Again, me too… I love Chicago history and have spent more than my time, as a genealogist, in cemeteries.

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  11. And then there was the era when girls were allowed but Catholic schools scuttled their applications. The nuns did not want their graduates going to a school with “male public school students” , feeling that their good girls should attend an all girl Catholic high school.
    The first year of a coed Lane Tech was a few more short girls

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    1. From my class at Waters Elementary they accepted Kieth Brumbach but not Regina Ebens. She had perfect Es (E for excellent) every semester and Kieth never did any homework, but was a genius, so always passed tests.
      Didn’t work out well for Kieth. He dropped out in a few months.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I am a graduate of LTHS, JANUARY 1963. After college I returned to Lane to teach Chemistry; I retired in 2007.
    I am one of the guys who actually made it into the ‘secret room’ in the Clock Tower. My colleagues, Chemistry teacher Frank Maes and math teacher Al Hagen were the men who volunteered to restore the hands on the clock and get the motors, timers and lights working again. Guess you could call me their ‘sidewalk superintendent’.
    I really appreciate your efforts in presenting the history my Alma Mater. Thanks.
    Kenneth Warren
    January ’63

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m grateful for shop classes and drafting… all such practical applications. And great friends from all walks of life provided me a grand view of the world.

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  14. I hurt my knee junior year and actually received a real Elevator Pass to use while I was on crutches. My friends were astonished. I suppose I could have actually made a real sale to the highest bidding freshman, but I really needed it!

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  15. a June 1952 Grad from this great school , the story is very interesting and the school very different from the time that I was a student . A lot different , so much so that I don’t think I would like it , however I’m too old and stubborn to understand that things change over time . I’m sure the changes were probably necessary and the school is just as great if not greater than I had experienced .

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  16. Well done, well laid out and chuck full of plenty of Lane facts and history. Required reading for former and current Lane students. Actually anyone who has ever heard of Lane would be a candidate to read this story. The author did some amazing research into the history of the area prior to the construction of the current Lane. I really enjoyed it, thanks Barry.

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  17. I was a Lane student from 1956 to 1960. You did a beautiful job on this article. At different times in the past, Lane Tech was the largest High School in the U.S. When I went there were 5,600 students. Go Lane for we are here to cheer fro you………………..

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  18. I graduated form Lane in 1964, just two years after the author. My wife and I attended the 50 year reunion and were surprised at all the changes. Many asked “where are the shops”? I spent many summers at Riverview. My elementary school was even older, Avondale, just off the above map at Kedzie and George.

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  19. I too am proud to have graduated from Lane Tech. I appreciate your article filled with historical facts that bring back rich memories. Like much of Chicago’s history, segregation is often omitted. It would have been nice to mention the desegregation of the school. Having qualified for entrance by examination, I rode the bus from the Cabrini Green projects near Old Town to attend school. My experience with prejudice and discrimination clouded my education. But the positive experience with JROTC , drivers education, drafting, auto and print shops shaped my life for the better. Thank you Lane!

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  20. Graduate of 1985 ! My kids are astonished when I can fix something due to my time in all my shop classes . They are also surprised by the fact that I took ROTC! (Couldn’t swim…. still can’t ) My cheer days are my fondest memories along with the filming of Wildcats & the viewing of Footloose in the autorium! Great friends great times!

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  21. Diamond Jubilee class of 1983. I took print shop for 3 years working on the Arrowhead yearbook, the newspaper, and the Diamond Jubilee calendar (which won a grand award from the Museum of Science and Industry). Our Senior class was the last class whose photos were done with 4 color printing. The march from Wrigley Field to the new campus reminded me of our 75th anniversary march TO Wrigley Field for a Cubs game as part of the year of festivities for the anniversary.

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  22. What a great recount of the history of Lane Tech. I’m a class of ’91 graduate. I recall the left-handed T-Squares for sale by upperclassmen (never bought one…) I also remember being so confused that the classrooms were in wings based on even and odd numbers, and that, for example, Room 120 was not next to Room 121 but perhaps on the other side of the school. I hated having only 4 minutes passing period when classes were so far apart. I loved fencing sophomore year, and I failed foundry shop miserably (but was happy to retake it as wood shop in the summer-one of my favorite classes!) I still have my letterman’s jacket and my wood shop creations all these years later. I wasn’t too fond of my teen years, but looking back it was a great school. Thanks for sparking some fun memories!

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  23. I graduated Lane class of 2010. Even though I didn’t go on to finish college, I still have Lane to thank for the motivation and dedication I do things in. I have nothing but good memories of Lane from all the students, to the teachers, clubs etc. My mom would have been a Lane graduate of 1985 (she dropped out), and my great uncle went to and graduated Lane when it was still an all boys school. So I guess you can say that Lane runs in the family! Thank you so much for this article. Go Lane, Go!

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  24. My father, Paul T Hutchinson, graduated from Lane Technical High School he graduated in January of 1936. This was the first graduating class at new Lane. He said his class was 2500 students. He said there were 10,000 students at new Lane. He attended both old Lane Tech and new Lane Tech.
    He told me old Lane building was converted into Foreman High School. I have read another article about Lane and old Lane do not remember all the details.
    My father told me about Frankie Laine deriving his stage name from Lane Tech High School. I have confirmed this appears to be true from reading journalist interviews of Frankie Laine who confirmed this in interviews. He lived in San Diego the later years of his life as I have lived in San Diego for many years.
    My father told me he saw someone stab Frank Cavarretta, the Chicago Cubs baseball player, in the hallway stairs at Lane. This is when they were both students at Lane.
    I lived near Lane and Riverview View when I was very small. I lived further west on Addison till I was 6 years old. I’ve never been inside Lanes Campus.
    My father attended the 50th reunion of his Lane high school class. He brought home the table decoration which was a wooden stand-up cutout of the lane Indian and school name. He kept that displayed and my parents house till he passed away.
    By all means do a part 2 of this. I cannot get too much detail this was all fascinating.
    My mother wanted to attend Lucy Flower women’s Technical High School. She was was very much interested in sewing and Design. She had made costumes for her China dolls which she copied from movies she saw as a child. She had these costumes and the dolls till very late in her adult life. Her mother would not allow her to attend Lucy Fiower. She related the story to me occasionally. I know Lucy Flower on the south side has closed many years ago.
    To me it is a shame that Lane Tech, from what you say, has eliminated most of the manual technical shop classes instead of just adding things and modernizing things as printing, design and architecture.
    So many technical high schools around the country have closed. The technical areas from computer, and I T to the standard shop classes are needed more than ever.

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  25. In 1971 I was in the final stages of becoming a District Coordinator for Jack-In-The-Box and the last hurdle to jump was to open a new unit starting with site selection and construction. It also required hiring and training all staff, both salaried and hourly. We had been approved to build on the South East corner of Western and Addison. The process was proceeding well as I began to interview for available positions until one sunny day around lunchtime the unfinished restaurant went dark with the sun mostly blocked out….it was about 200 kids who had come to see if we were open yet and were peering through the windows! It was an omen of what was to come. Opening with a crew of 35 employees, we were the 5th highest volume store in a then chain of 900 stores the very first week. We then were the 4th highest on week two. Each morning I had to count organize and band 16oo singles for the deposit! I also bought a $50.00 bag of rolled pennies every other day….that’s 100 rolls! We did $9,600.00 a week on $0.29 hamburgers and $0,22 tacos. Over 900 tacos a day! What a ride!

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  26. Without question, some of the best years of my life. I was class of 1971, Lane opened a lot of doors for me. I entered the manufacturing engineering world because of the skills and education Lane gave me, and got my first break because of a Lane alumni who was my first boss and mentor in the engineering world. I am comfortably retired now after a long successful career in engineering and management thanks to Lane. Great article, thanks for posting.

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  27. So enjoyed this History lesson and all the comments ! I missed out on Lane registration since we moved to the suburbs. I certainly regret that move. Thank you very much for your well detailed information.

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  28. Class of `71. Anyone remember the scooters the assistant principals would patrol the hallways on? They stood up high so they could see over the heads of the students during passing and keep us in control. And coming to school without a belt! If you got caught, it wasn’t a rope but the thinnest string that could be found.

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  29. Graduated June 1965. I could fill a book with stories about the happenings at Lane during my time there!
    One of my favorites is about Phillip A Tapley Day. He was a physics teacher who always dresses in a white shirt, gray pants and a green bow tie. Once a year all his classes dressed identical to him. He NEVER reacted or said a thing but was either laughing or fuming on the inside.

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  30. My father was one of the first graduates from the Addison campus. I attended from 1971 to 1974; one of the first female graduates from the school. I escaped the Catholic school for girls! My father and I both received a stellar education from Lane. It was fun to look at the pictures of the printing equipment. I’ve gone on to do much with my life and I believe it was because I went to Lane.

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  31. I am a proud graduate of Lane Tech…all boys. Like it or not I am sorry to have seen the admission of girls once again. Also having passed by Lane sometime when I was back in Chicago the grounds were disgraceful…bare spots of grass all over. That was one of the things we were so proud of…were the grounds of beautiful grass. If you were caught walking on the grass you were given detention 2-20. Sounds as though it was me…never! I was very proud of those beautiful grounds. In any case it was disgraceful to see the grounds all full of bare spots of dirt…disgusting! I have not been back to see Lane as it is today, so I hope it is back to it’s beautiful state. I am also sorry to see they now admit girls. Sorry girls, but knowing of your admittance to Lane Tech in today’s era diminishes my proudest feelings as a former student at Lane Tech.

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  32. I am a proud graduate from the class of ‘69. This was a wild era of the school with the banned fight song and rained out graduation but loved every minute. I was in music and went through five band directors but we still took city every year. Great times.

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  33. Afraid to post my comment which included girls who are now at Lane Tech? You should not be afraid to post comments from all sides of the opinion on that topic.

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  34. I didn’t go to Lane but am fascinated to learn about the conception, delays and finally, the final product. 7,000 students? Dining room seating 1250? What a massive undertaking, what an amazing person who conceived that this was doable. The map of Riverview is amazing. My brother used to get tickets for it by delivering newspapers. Sadly my mother never wanted to go.

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  35. Lawrence Scarpaci, class of 74. As a freshie in 71 many of the boys marched downtown to protest the fact that girls were coming the next year. I was thinking, “are you guys nuts?” I signed up for a typing class sophomore year with Mrs. Brown, not only was she a great teacher but I was surrounded by cute girls! And typing came in quite handy in my 42 year career at Commonwealth Edison down the street, where many other alumni had long careers. The funny thing is I took most of the shop classes from wood shop, model shop, foundry, machine shop, etc. but I skipped electric shop, yet ended up at Comed, haha. So in 72 they brought in 200 freshie and 200 soph girls so I ended up in first graduation class with girls in 74. Great memories! Good article, thanks! Go Lane Go! (Still have my wood Indian Head and school sweater)

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  36. it was my understanding that the wooden bench used as the Driving simulator was donated to the Smithsonian. Does anyone know if its true? 1975 we were told we were the last class to use the old wooden bench.

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  37. Class of 76 – female – got a little sad to hear no one takes carpentry, auto, electrical etc shop anymore. God I hated them but proud to have survived.

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  38. I am from the class of ’65. Lane was one of the best periods of my life The shops, academics and especially Concert and Marching Band with Gardener P Huff and Frank Borger. Go Lane Go!

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  39. Great article, brings back lots of memories some how I graduated in January 1963. I was in the Art class we had a reputation of the crazy guys, I still comunicate with a small group of classmates. Admittedly I was far from a serious student but I appreciated the teachers efforts and took pride in being a Laneite
    We did lots of crazy things, all boys you know we had to do something. Double hall guards stationed in or near the stairwells during class we used to sing Beach boys and of course 4 Seasons Big girls don’t Cry echoing up to the top floor, reverb you know. Another time as a senior in gym class we were running around the outside of the school 40-60 boys my friend and I fell to the back of the group then cut through the main entrance through the hall straight back cutting the distance in half we could have set a record but decided to wait and fell in the middle of the group but we got away with it. I recall taking the driving class, they upgraded the cars in the 60’s to I think Nash Ramblers and Studebaker Larks. Froggy we used to say “plunk your magic wand Froggy, BOING”

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  40. Hello, I’m a Lane alum class of 74, my dad was class of 48 and my Uncle Class of 42, I also have nieces and nephews who are lane grads in the early 2000’s often reflect back with fond memories of my time at Lane and some of the teachers, Mr. Bono my freshman wood shop teacher and Mr. Gorny who I had as my welding shop teacher sophomore year are my 2 favorites, sorry to have seen the shops close but understand the manufactured mantra the “evreyone needs a college diploma to succeed in this world ” that kind of thinking is why this country is in dire need of skilled craftsman now! My education their has served me well after my 4 years of service in the USMC right after school, I have had jobs in welding and carpentry and eventually opened my own business as a general contractor, enjoying early retirement now, great article and pics, “GO LANE GO”!

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  41. I was a Lane student class of 70. I find it incredible now to think about 50 years since my graduation. My last two years there I was introduced to student life. I joined Lane Chorus and Student Government. I had a positive experience with guys from different ethnic backgrounds. The time I spent with George Rico was amazing. The choir at Lane, singing with our barbershop ensemble, and getting additional vocal training from him was a wonderful gift. Like Mr. Brooks I was exposed to a few tense moments (the day after MLK was killed you could feel the tension on the Western Avenue bus to and from school) but my overall experience at Lane. was a positive and formative one. My art classes with Mr. Zalinski were foundational to my career. Learning to get along with others from different backgrounds at Lane helped me through college and into the business and personal life. I am thankful and grateful for my time there and the reputation of the school, and the way its alumni give back. Thanks for sharing memories of Albert Lane, the schools, and the elevator keys.

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  42. I graduated from Lincoln public school in the northeast side of Chicago. Every guy in my class new if you got to go to Lane it was a privilege and a honor to be able continue your education their . You where look up to and everyone wanted to be your Friend . When I got my Lane sweater I use to sometimes wear it and go over to my old grammar school just to show it off . I just wish that I could have graduated from Lane but my parents had to moved . But yes it was a very great school and I haven’t seen a better one yet that could even come close to it . I got my career start from their auto shop . I went into the US Air Force in 1960 and was auto instructor for them ,then got station in a SAC base in Omaha ,Nebraska . I got discharged in 1963 then went to work for IHC trucks as a floor mechanic ,while there I was promoted to head up their Employee Lease plan ,then promoted to and Instructor at their Truck Training center ,and then became the manger of the truck training center , 4 yrs later was promoted to the Overseas Division to Head up all overseas Truck training . I got to go to just about every country in the world but a few . I went into retirement but got bored so I now own my own Billiard Products Company . I am now 77 yrs . old and still kicking .
    Let me just say one thing I learn from all this If you don’t put anything in to a job then don’t expect to get anything out of it .

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  43. I was in the smith hughes auto shop my junior & senior year, & some of us would go under the auto hoist, sit on some old car seats smoke & b.s. one time we had both the class presidents, (Jan. & June 60) the chief of the hall guards & several other classmates down there & we didn’t get caught.

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  44. This is the best story of Lane I ever read. I have so many stories I’d love to share but I think it would take an long time just to tell some of them. I can’t say enough good things about my 4 years at Lane. I had a great time and meet some great guys. I’d love to hear more stories and see more pictures if there out there. I can tell everyone this, things at Lane have changed. About a year ago I was in the front office asking if I could go in the remodeled garden and take some pictures. I got this strange look and was asked why. I told them I hadn’t been in the garden in over 45 years and would like to seat down in there and kind of daydream any just remember the good times I had at Lane. Once again I was asked WHY and why the camera. Do you want to take pictures to sell are you putting something together for profit? Lots of questions. I told them goodbye and would try and fine someone else to talk to. I later found out that the administration isn’t fond of Alumni. I am planning on being in the garden for a new Memorial ceremony for Veterans some time around Memorial Day. I hope to see as many Alumni as possible.
    Thanks for article and thanks for letting me share a few thoughts.
    Steve Hernandez ” 72 ”
    Go Lane Go

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  45. I am Dave Raymond, I attended (most of the time) from 70-72, I made friends that are lasting a lifetime, I learned a lot about life and people, played on the baseball team and wound up being the founder and name on the bottle of Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce along with my business partner Mike O’Brien and our accountant Steve Thompson, a
    who are Lane Graduates Go Lane Go … really great article

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  46. I was in the first group that had to take a test to qualify to get into Lane in 1958. I remember I was not feeling well the day I took the test and I scored low on reading comprehension or whatever it was called. The elementary school principal thought I could do better and let me take that portion of the test again. I’ll always be grateful to that principal because getting into Lane set me on a course to a better life in many ways.

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