Historic Chicago high school solves 150-year-old mystery of who designed the building

A historic Chicago school finally solved a 150-year-old mystery of who designed the distinctive building back in the 1860's.

The building that houses St. Ignatius College Prep survived the Great Chicago Fire, but the architect has been listed as "unknown" for quite a while.

 We now know it was Hermann von Langen. 

On Wednesday, von Langen's great-great-grandson visited the school to receive a certificate of recognition.

Hermann von Langen was a German immigrant, who was asked to design what was then St. Ignatius College, and style it like grandiose buildings seen in Europe in the 1800's.

"Not since the time of Fr. Damen nearly 150 years ago has the St. Ignatius College Prep community known who was the architect of our building here on Roosevelt Road," said John Chandler, school president.


"This is a great honor, not only for me, but our entire family to have recognized Hermann von Langen as the architect and designer of St. Ignatius school," said Rich von Langen, the architect's great-great-grandson.

For 44 years to the day, the architect has been listed as unknown with the National Register of Historic Places. 

A request is being made to change that. 

It is all thanks to research by a Chicago historian who scoured Jesuit records and more to uncover the truth.