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Mendel Hall

250 E 111th St.

House music pioneer Jesse Saunders and the Chosen Few DJs started throwing parties in the bi-level Mendel Hall during the late 1970s. This was part of a wave of Chicago parochial schools that opened its doors at this time to young people from across the city to dance in a safe environment. These schools also included Visitation Catholic and Hales Franciscan. As DJ Craig Loftis told writer Micah Salkind, young people at Mendel’s parties, “could all come together and you weren’t worried about fighting, violence, guns, stuff like that. You were partying.” Others who attended the parochial school dances recalled that these were spaces where older teens could train younger followers on dance moves, fashion and other social practices. These would continue as youth-oriented juice bars (that did not sell alcohol) began to continue presenting house music throughout the city in the 1980s.

– A.C. 

Caption: Current location of Mendel Hall. 

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