George D. Tesch (1891–?)

George D. Tesch served as a Chicago Board of Education staff architect for many years. Born in New Jersey, Tesch practiced architecture in Ohio for a few years before arriving in Chicago. Hired by the Board of Education in 1921, Tesch worked under the supervision of John C. Christensen and Edgar D. Martin, when the Board of Education undertook ambitious building program that included such buildings as Isabelle O’Keeffe Elementary School, a handsome Tudor Revival-style school in the South Shore neighborhood . He continued as a staff architect to the Board for decades. According to the Chicago Tribune, by 1948, he was the board’s “Chief Architectural Designer,” a position in which he remained until he retired in 1957.

Tesch’s design work includes the Green School (now the private Hanna Sacks Bais Yaakov High School) at 3201 West Devon. A 1954 Chicago Tribune article entitled “Tribune Tower Stones Inspire School Design,” featured the modern concrete and stone school, with its colorful terra cotta plaques depicting topics of educational significance, including the Atomic Age – represented by the atom bomb test on Bikini Atoll.

Throughout his career at the Board of Education, Tesch pursued outside architectural projects. In the 1920s, Tesch worked on designs for several Chicago buildings. In subsequent decades, he became interested in portable, low-cost, and pre-fabricated buildings, developing a series of designs and filing a number of patent applications for such structures over the years.

 

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