St James Lutheran School is a reputable Bucktown private school located on the North Side of Chicago. The school strives to encourage all of its student to reach their full academic and spiritual potentials. We aim to achieve this through inquiry-based learning, shaped with a Christian worldview. Our focus on inquiry-based learning ensures that students see the value in the knowledge they master while developing skills in critical-thinking and creative expression that are essential to their future success as individuals and loving neighbors.
Our enrollment options are among the following:
- Pre Kindergarten
- Early Childhood education
- Extended Day program
- Elementary School (grades 1-4)
- Middle School (grades 5-8)
Bucktown shares a similar history to that of its southern neighbor, Wicker Park, and has a long history as a northern Chicago neighborhood. The earliest settlements of the area even predate the conception of Chicago as a town, which happened in 1833. In 1831, the first residents of the area, Polish immigrants fleeing war in their country, arrived and established a community for themselves. At the time, the land they occupied was known as Holstein. The area became more established over time with the construction of its own post office and hotel, and in 1854 Holstein was even designated as its own town. It was later annexed by the city of Chicago in 1863.
As time went on more and more immigrants came to live in the area. These immigrants were, for the most part, Polish, but a variety of other groups arrived as well, including an initial influx of Germans and Russian Jews in the early 1900s and later on, large groups of Puerto Rican immigrants in the 1960s. These Puerto Rican immigrants arrived alongside large groups of artists and others attracted by the low cost of the area and the convenience provided by the nearby and recently-completed Kennedy Expressway. Many of these individuals had been pushed out by the rising costs of neighborhoods like Old Town and Lincoln Park. It was during this period that Bucktown Arts Fest occurred for the first time, a tradition that is continued annually today.
Ultimately, the influences on Bucktown visible today were predominantly Polish. The most notable example of this is the eventual name assigned to the area, which is said to come from the goats (males of which were called bucks) belonging to many of the area’s Polish settlers that roamed the streets and filled the backyards of the neighborhood. The Polish immigrants even called the area “kozie prery,” meaning goat prairie.
There are also a number of notable Polish churches in Bucktown, the very first of which, St. Stanislaus Kostka, was founded in 1867 and was the first Polish parish in all of Chicago. This particular church was a central unit of the Polish immigrant community, so much so that the surrounding area was often referred to as “Little Poland” and the “Polish Downtown.” St. Hedwig’s and St. Mary of the Angels, also located in Bucktown, are additional examples of significant Polish churches in Chicago and whose architecture displays numerous hallmarks of the Polish cathedral style.
Today, Bucktown attracts a rather different crowd than the working-class Polish day-laborers that originally occupied its borders and even the low-rent-loving individuals that came later. The neighborhood is now home to many families and young, high-income professionals drawn in by the results of urban renewal. We here at St James Lutheran School are proud to be able to educate the children of these young and growing families.
St James Lutheran School has been serving families as a private school in Bucktown for decades.