Carl Schurz High School and James H. Bowen High School | The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago
Carl Schurz High School and James H. Bowen High School
The rest of the city is taught not to go far south….As a result, this wealth of architecture, schools, churches, buildings, [and] park space has been largely overlooked by the rest of the city.— Lee Bey, architecture critic
Architecture critic and photographer Lee Bey talks South Side architecture with Geoffrey.
Carl Schurz High School and James H. Bowen High Schools are nearly identical buildings, but as Lee Bey told Geoffrey Baer in The Most Beautiful Places in Chicago 2, that has not yielded identical recognition. Schurz High School, which is located on the North Side in Irving Park, and Bowen High School, which is located on the South Side in the South Chicago neighborhood, were both designed by prairie school architect Dwight Perkins. According to Erik Emmett Davis in the AIA Guide to Chicago, most of the schools in Chicago before the turn of the century were designed in “Dickensian” fashion, with minimal light and play space. But the “forty-odd schools that Perkins designed between 1905 and 1910 brought grass and trees, sunlight and fresh air, safety from fire, and good sanitation.” Schurz and Bowen high schools feature angular, sloping, tile gable roofs and geometric interior details. Despite their similarities, Schurz High School is the one that was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. That, according to Bey, is an example of how much of the South Side’s beautiful architecture is underappreciated. “That tells a story, right? If [Bowen High School] can be overlooked, and it has a twin, then any building can be overlooked,” said Bey.