Archive ID: 2018-074-039

J.N. Thorp School

Date Created: 1907-12-03

Created By: A.J. Schumann

Donor: Raymond Mulac

Media Type: Postcard

Language: English


James N. Thorp School labeled as located at 89th Superior. Superior is now Burley. One of the oldest schools in South Chicago it was originally named the South Chicago School but usually referred to as the 89th Street School. The first part of the school was a two story structure built in 1882. It is seen in this view at the rear. The three story building at the front was built in 1899. The school was renamed James N. Thorp in honor of a local steel executive, a pioneer in the steel industry. Thorp worked for the North Chicago Rolling Mill which later developed into United States Steel. He had been employed since 1860 as Superintendent of the Wyandotte Rolling Mill in Wisconsin, a branch of the North Chicago Rolling Mill Company. The Wyandotte mill was the country’s first Bessemer process steel mill. He arrived in Chicago in 1880 when ground was first broken for construction of the South Works mill of the North Chicago Rolling Mill. He was the General Yard Superintendent for South Works from 1880 until his death on November 11, 1887. He was very popular among his workers and was referred to as “The Laboring man’s Friend.” His funeral was well attended and his funeral procession consisted of fifty carriages. The Chicago Board of Education named James N. Thorp school after him in 1889, in recognition of his great popularity and prominence, just over a year after his death.

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