Mark T. Skinner, a prominent lawyer and civic leader, first arrived in Chicago in 1836. Here, he spent the remaining 51 years of his life demonstrating his interest in the welfare of the people of his adopted city.
He served this city and state as:
Judge of the Cook County Court of Common Pleas
City Attorney of Chicago
City School Inspector
Member of the State Legislature
United States District Attorney of Illinois
Member of the United States Sanitary Commission
President of the Chicago Sanitary Commission
Skinner helped organize the "Young Men's Association," a forerunner of the Great Chicago Public Library, and was founder of a Chicago school established for the laudable purpose of educating homeless boys. He was one of the corroborators of the Chicago Gas Light and Coke Company, the old Chicago Marine and Fire Insurance Company, the State Insurance Company, and director of the Galena, Chicago and Union Railroad and the Chicago Burlington and Quincy Railroad.
In 1859, city fathers acknowledged the civic contributions of Mark T. Skinner 28 years before his death by naming the Mark T. Skinner School for him.
In 2009, after more than 50 years on its current site, the old Skinner West school building was replaced with the building we have today.
A decade later, in 2019, Skinner West opened a new, four-story annex on the north side of the building. That same year, parent volunteers began work on a new gross motor room, library, and computer lab at the Branch.
Read more about the Skinner West buildings.
Skinner West was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School in 2013. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes outstanding public and non-public US schools. Learn more .