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The one-room Orchard Place School, circa 1905

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Orchard Place was an unincorporated farming community southwest of Des Plaines. In 1855, the community built a one room schoolhouse on Boesche family farmland near Mannheim and Higgins.

Photo of the first Orchard Place school house
This original school building lacked running water. Outhouses stood in the schoolyard and students received drinking water in a pail with a tin dipper from a farmhouse across the street. A small wood burner heated the school in the winter. In 1923, the one-room school was demolished and replaced with a two-room brick schoolhouse on the same site.
Orchard Place School students in front of the 1923 school building,
During World War II, Douglas Aircraft operated a war production factory across Mannheim and Higgins from Orchard Place School. Several test flights from the Douglas factory’s test airfield, which later became O’Hare Airport, crashed near the school. Concerns for student safety led Orchard Place School to move to 2727 Maple Street in 1945.
First grade class photo, taken April 15, 1953
A few weeks after the move to Maple Street, a Douglas test flight crashed into the old, empty school building at Higgins and Mannheim, validating the fears that prompted the school’s relocation. After Des Plaines annexed Orchard Place in 1956, Orchard Place School joined District 62.
Photo of one of the classes from the first Orchard Place School house

open since 1855

All of the historical information of the CCSD62 schools was generously provided by the Des Plaines History Center. 

Go to their website below to learn more about Des Plaines history!

Des Plaines History Center Website

Photo of Orchard Place School, circa 1900-1923

Orchard Place School, circa 1900-1923

Orchard Place School students, 1913

Orchard Place School students, 1913

Front entrance of Orchard Place School in 1983

Front Entrance to Orchard Place School, November 17, 1983