The late 1800s saw a period of unprecedented growth for the City of Chicago. The 1890 census counted 1,099,850 residents in the city, a 119 percent increase since the previous census count 10 years earlier. This exponential growth was attributed to a dramatic rise in the arrival of immigrants from central, eastern, and southern Europe. Among these immigrants were the Greeks, forming the largest Greek community in the nation at that time. By 1897, the Greek Community had established its first
permanent Greek Orthodox Parish, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church. The church was housed in a building on Johnson St. (now Peoria Street), in what became known as the Greek Delta, bounded by Halsted, Harrison, Blue Island, and Polk Streets. Since 1897, Holy Trinity has played a leading role in the development of the Greek Community in Chicago, and is referred to as the “Mother Church” of the Midwest.
- Holy Trinity, the first Greek Orthodox Parish in the Midwest is established. The Church is chartered with the State of Illinois as Syndesmos Hellenikes Kinotitos (Union of the Greek Community). A church
building is purchased on Peoria Street. The first Divine Liturgy is held on October 18th.
One of the most important priorities for the Holy Trinity Parish has been the perpetuation of the Greek language and culture.
- Socrates School opens its doors as the first Greek school outside of Greece in the entire world. Greek language classes are offered to the community at Jane Addams' Hull House on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.
The Holy Trinity Church on Peoria.
Mr. Arvanitis surrounded by his 34
students in 1908.
- Socrates School becomes the first full-time Greek School in the United States.
- Socrates School adds English curriculum to its program and becomes Socrates Greek American School.
Students at Socrates Greek American School in 1923.
Professor Drossos presides over the classroom in 1923.
1965 - 1967
- During the construction of the new church building at 6041 W. Diversey, Socrates School operates in a rental space at St. Haralambos Church.
The Socrates Greek American school at 742 S. Ada Street. The school offers kindergarten through 6th Grade classes.
- Classes are held in the new Socrates School building at 6041 W. Diversey Avenue.
- Socrates School is temporarily relocated to the grounds of Holy Resurrection Serbian Orthodox Cathedral at 5701 N. Redwood Drive.
- Socrates School moves to its permanent location at the grounds of the Hellenic American Academy at 1085 Lake Cook Road, Deerfield, Illinois.
An expansion project (in progress) will add a second floor to the building with additional classrooms and facilities.
Future plans include the erection of a gymnasium and a youth center.
Socrates Greek American School at the Greek Independence Day parade in 1997.