skip to Main Content


On this page we are trying to compile a “definitive” history of O.A.  Thorp Scholastic Academy. This will become a living classroom exercise as our third grade students become archivists, researchers and historians discovering our Chicago history. Please visit often as this section will surely grow with time.

By the way, the old Chicago Public Schools Alumni Site was taken down. However, by going by using the Internet “Wayback Machine” you can still visit the old site. There were a number of alumni who had registered, we do not have those names anymore. If you are interested in registering with our site and helping us learn more about O.A. Thorp when you attended please let us know by leaving a comment below. Thank you for visiting us “virtually” if you are interested in physically visiting Thorp Scholastic Academy – our tours are on the third Thursday of each month at 1:30PM. We would love to have you come. Reunion information can also be disseminated via our site if your class is interested in getting together.

-Mr. Toledo
Principal O.A. Thorp Scholastic Academy


Thorp, Ole Anton (1856-1905) Ole Anton Thorp was born in Eidsberg, Norway. He came to Minneapolis in 1879 before settling in Chicago a year later. In Chicago he founded his import-export business, Ole A. Thorp and Company, and was subsequently the first to conceive and put into practice the idea of direct shipments by water between Chicago and Europe. Thorp was knighted by King Oscar of Sweden for his work as a representative of Sweden in the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. He was a member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Education. Below is a description of Mr. Thorp from the Dedication Ceremonies of the Columbian Exposition

Description of OA Thorp from the Columbian Exposition 1893






Here are the words  of O.A. Thorp about the settling of Alaska in a Congressional Dept. of the Interior report. Click the image below:






Take a look at OA Thorp’s life history from A History of the Norwegians in Illinois

Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 8.57.05 AM




Screen Shot 2017-06-11 at 8.59.17 AM






School History

“Old” O.A. Thorp School (1905-1914)

Located at: 2701 West Foster Avenue in the Lincoln Square community. (The building was renamed Bowmanville School then Lyman Budlong Elementary School

1918 – Ole A. Thorp Elementary School moves to its present location on Warwick and the old O.A. Thorp school building officially becomes Budlong Elementary School.

The architect who designed Thorp’s building in 1918 was Arthur Hussander (1865-1943). Mr. Hussander designed over 60 schools and he favored the classical style (thus Thorp’s columns). From Chicago’s Historic Schools: [Hussander’s] school designs include Lindblom Technical School; Senn High School; Carter Harrison Technical School (now Maria Saucedo Scholastic Academy); and Bell, Herzl, Parkside, Peirce, Pope, Thorp, and Riis elementary schools.


From the National Register Nomination Archives: “… A significant step toward residential development in the area came in 1916 when the City of Chicago purchased a parcel of land on the west side of Austin Avenue from Gottfried Pick. Here, the city built the O. A. Thorp Public School, designed by Board of Education architect Arthur Hussander. In the context of bungalow neighborhoods, which carefully excluded industrial buildings and limited commercial buildings to major streets, schools and churches were the primary non-residential buildings that came to share and monumentalize the residential landscape. Schools and churches gave newer neighborhoods a rooted and more substantial appearance and reinforced the broader ideals of family life, child rearing, and moral propriety that developers hoped would make their developments attractive to potential homebuyers.


Chicago Tribue Articles and Timeline (Please email Mr. Toledo if you find any articles related to O.A. Thorp and/or the school)


1895 – Architect announced for “Dunning School” July 14, 1895

1899 – Ole Thorp Knighted by King Oscar of Norway January 22, 1899

1903 – Ole Thorp investigates building code violations at schools September 13, 1903

1904 – Ole Thorp supports a resolution preventing schools to be named after saloon keepers April 27, 1904

1904 – Controversy over school names April 28, 1904

1905 – New school named for Ole Thorp July 08, 1905

1918 – Thorp School closed due to lack of coal February 12, 1918

1965 – Thorp School PTA Honors 23 Past Presidents February 07, 1965

1968 – O.A. Thorp Elementary to be integrated through school busing, March 10, 1968

1968 – Residents Oppose Busing Plan March 09, 1968

1968 – Resentment about Busing – Focus on Thorp School, May 26, 1968

1973 – Scuffle at Thorp during Teacher’s Strike January 17, 1973

1982 – Thorp Becomes a Scholastic Academy Dec. 12, 1982

1985 – Late Bus Routes – September 24, 1985

2014 – Profile of Chicago Bungalows July 7, 2014

This Post Has 10 Comments
  1. I attended “little” Thorp at the corner of Narragansett and Addison about 1947 to 1948 before transferring to “big” Thorp for 3rd grade. I graduated from Thorp in 1956 and attended Steinmetz High School. I have wonderful memories of attending little Thorp. Is there any further history about little Thorp. The history says that it was called Budlong Elementary School in 1918, but by the time I attended school in 1947 it was again called Thorp. When did the name change back. Are there any other photos of little Thorp. I have classroom pictures. Thank you. Janice Frank Koontz

  2. Ms. Koontz,
    Thank you for your comments. We would love to see those pictures! Could you take some photographs and email them to us? We would also love to have you visit us. Please call the office to make arrangements.

    -Efren Toledo, Principal

  3. Ms. Koontz,

    I attended Ole A. Thorp on Warwick from 1963 to 1971. I still have classroom pictures. Ironic – my oldest son’s best friend is now a PE Teacher there. Would love to visit sometime! Many fond memories of the school,teachers and classmates!!

    1. Mr. Barkulis,

      I would love to have you visit – I’ll even have Mr. Ryder give you a tour. Just give us a call 773.534.3640.

    1. Thorp has been around for quite some time (the original Thorp was founded in 1905, and is currently Budlong School). The present building was built in 1918. “Little Thorp” the school that was merged with the Thorp building was one of the first public schools in Chicago.

  4. Hello,

    I attended Thorp from 1975 – 1984. I have some good memories of the school. My favorite teacher was Mr. Tripp. I went back about 8-9 years ago to see the school. It was amazing. I remember being a scared kindergartner going to a big school. Doesn’t look so big now.

    -Dave Castro

  5. Its been about 15 years since I went there. Drove by today and flooded back memories. Favorite teachers were Mrs. Hunt who I see is still there and Mrs. Wagner the science teacher


  6. I attended Thorpe from 1967 – 1974. With the apple commercial playing the chicken fat song on their commercials, brought back memories of that song being played in gym class in the late 60’s early 70’s. Does anyone remember the gym teacher that played that song during class?

    1. I only know of that song from the commercial – pretty funny that it was played in gym class at Thorp (I’m sure I would get some complaints if we played it today.) I’m glad you thought of us, feel free to call and swing by and see the gym if you’re in town; I would love to know more about what Thorp was like.

      -Efren Toledo Principal

Comments are closed.

Back To Top