Glenbard, A History

Glenbard is ever changing, from the students, to the faculty, and to the building itself. With this, it’s important to learn about and celebrate our school’s history.

Originally called Honeysuckle Hill, Glenbard West is in fact located on the spot where the widely popular Lake Ellyn Hotel once stood. The building of the hotel allowed businesses in the real estate to boom, essentially helping populate the town.

Eventually, however, the Grand Glen Ellyn Hotel burned down after being struck by lightning in 1906. In the years following WWI, Glen Ellyn’s economy was expanding and Honeysuckle hill was reclaimed in a legal battle, then transformed into a high school. Half the lake was removed for a football field, and students who were originally taught in classrooms above the DuPage Bank transitioned into their new school.

However, the school was not the expansive castle that we know today. At the time, it consisted of the part of the building from the main entrance to the left. The entrance to the building upon its opening was the door that now leads to the steep stairs and library, but at this point in time, the library did not yet exist. The school was tiny, and hardly owned up to its title given to it by Fred Biester, “the Castle on The Hill”, with its puny population of about 200 students.

As fire safety became a concern, the wooden floor of the school were removed by senior boys by request of the principal. With all of the extra wood, they held a massive bonfire by the lake, starting the homecoming tradition.

As the student body expanded, so should, the administration thought, the school. The first expansion took place in 1926, and the addition of the auditorium in 1931, and the “Hilltopper Gym” (now the library) in 1936. In this new addition, the space we know as the guidance counselors’ offices was the school library and the library remained the school’s gym.

Eventually the school was once again expanded eastward and what is now the foreign language hall was the new library. In 1958 the new gym, Biester Gym, was added down the hill from the school where the field house was eventually completed in 2001 along with the current school library.

Cut to today, where our school is undergoing another major expansion with our new science wing. We get to witness Glenbard West history being made that will be remembered for generations of students to come. One day, when Glenbard’s history is being retold, it will be met with a chorus of bewilderment at the thought of a time before the new science wing.