A Brief History of New Trier

1901

Seventy-six students attend the first day of school on February 4, making their way through a snowstorm to do so. New Trier had seven faculty in 1901. The first orchestra was organized and students played indoor baseball in an unfinished second floor room.

1904

The first Echoes is published, a monthly magazine of student writing that evolved into an official yearbook in 1924.

1912

New Trier becomes one of the first American high schools to have an indoor swimming pool.

1918

New Trier becomes a training ground for World War I soldiers. Students support the war effort whole-heartedly, raising funds for the purchase of an ambulance. A total of four hundred students and graduates enlisted in the service.

1920s

The New Trier News publishes its first issue in 1920. Under the direction of Superintendent Frederick Clerk in the mid 1920s, New Trier begins the adviser system still in place today.The new main gymnasium is completed and dedicated to the late school board member and athletic booster Leslie Gates in 1928.

1930s

Students sell tax warrants door to door in the early 1930s to keep the school open as the flow of property tax warrants is disrupted by the Depression. Boys track and field captures New Trier's first IHSA state title in 1934. Today New Trier leads Illinois high schools in the number of athletic state championships. First Lagniappe show is produced in 1939.

1940s

Students support the war effort with unprecedented enthusiasm-raising money for a B-17 bomber ("The Spirit of New Trier") and a B-29. One hundred thirty-seven students and alumni give their lives in World War II.

1950s

The Drama-Music-Speech Building on Woodland Avenue is completed in 1950. The new tower building and Gaffney Auditorium replace the old tower building in 1957. The construction is undertaken to accommodate a rapidly growing population.

1960s

Township voters approve a bond issue to acquire forty-six acres at Happ and Winnetka Roads in Northfield in 1962. Time to build a second campus! Enrollment has topped 4,000. New Trier West opens its doors to freshmen and sophomores in 1965. Education Secretary John Gardner joins a large group of notables including NT grads Senator Charles Percy and Congressman Donald Rumsfeld to dedicate the New Trier West campus as a four-year high school in 1967.

1970s

An all-time high district enrollment of 6,558 attends both campuses in 1972, but numbers will drop rapidly in a few years. New gyms and dance studios open front and east of the tower building on the Winnetka campus in 1975.

1980s

Due to enrollment that continues to decline, New Trier West closes as a four-year high school in 1981. The Trevian replaces the Cowboy (West) and Indian (East) mascots and Echoes is renamed Trevia. New Trier West becomes a campus for freshman, 1981-1985.

1990s

New Trier overhauls its systems of grading (adding plus/minus letter grades), reporting class rank (decile system), and distributing the weight differentials of leveled classes. An extensive physical renovation and repair program begins at the vintage campus.

2000

The new school year begins by celebrating the achievements of the past while looking forward to the future. Numerous alumni visit the campus for special programs to honor NT's Centennial.

2001

Happy One Hundredth Birthday, New Trier! The celebration continues with more alumni programs and a special open house and gala ball in April. Northfield Campus opens for freshman students.

2003-2009

Library and locker rooms at Winnetka Campus undergo major renovations, and New Trier considers major new facilities planning. Strategic planning initiatives address several facets of students' academic, social and emotional growth. Enrollment reaches 4,150.