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An Interesting History of Bret Harte

An Interesting History of Bret Harte

For those who are not following our Facebook page, I would like to share a very interesting exchange happening there. A community member shared this picture in Hyde Park group.

The old class photo is dated 1896. It says "Ray School Jackson Park Branch". William H. Ray Elementary School once had a "branch" school at 56th and Stony Island, which in 1931 became the separate and present Bret Harte School. I believe the original is in this archive, "Box 124 Folder 9A Ray School, Jackson Park branch, 3rd grade class, 1896".




Here is the Sanborn Fire Insurance map for the area. "Windermere West" is identified here, off the map is "Windermere East", the present Windermere built in 1924.  It shows Ray Elementary Jackson Park Branch at 56th and Stony Island where the current Bret Harte is. 

Looking at those pictures, an aluma in her 70s, shared this comment: "I am surprised to hear that the present Bret Harte was built in 1931. It was the only elementary school heated by oil when John Lewis took The coal miners out on strike during WW2. Schools were out on Fridays to save coal, but we at Bret Harte had to go to school. Chicago Tech was the only high school with oil heat, so they got to go to school on Friday’s, too."

Isn't it fascinating?! I am thrilled to learn more about the history of Bret Harte and the neighborhood! 

Friends of Bret Harte Elementary



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