80s

Shermer High School, Shermer Illinois, 60062.

Before you get all “Hold up!” on me, yes, the title of this article is a false address. However, within the realm of a John Hughes fanatic, the term “Shermer, IL” is as plausible and lucid as, say, the caves of Fraggle Rock are to a Jim Henson groupie. 

Anyway, 6 years ago, I went “film location” hunting around my home turf – the northern suburbs of Chicago, nestled along Lake Michigan, a hub that bred a handful of ’80s films that I hold close to my heart in a multitude of ways. Really. The opening credits to Sixteen Candles could be a video brochure for a new religion and I’d blindly  sign myself up. Perhaps this post is a long time coming. And I apologize. But, love is slow! And I do love  Samantha Baker and Jake Ryan. I love Farmer Ted, Bender, Ferris, and Duckie, too, even though Duckie was over in LA. And we’re keeping this strictly midwest. So, without further adieu, I bring you my Hughes Hall of Nostalgia. 

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986): 

School scenes: Glenbrook North High School, 2300 Shermer Road, Glenbrook, IL (Also, Hughes’ alma mater). 

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“Save Ferris” water tower: North of Glenbrook Station – between Cedar Lane and Meadow Rd. 

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Cameron’s home: 370 Beech Street, Highland Park, IL (between Linden Ave. and Wade St.). 

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(Linden Ave. was home to Tom Cruise in Risky Business.) 

 

The Breakfast Club (1985): 

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School scenes: formerly Main North High School, today it is the Illinois State Police Station, 9511 Harrison St., Des Plaines, IL. The library was built inside the school’s gym. (All of the actors were given a piece of the banister on their last day of work)

Final scene: football field of Glenbrook North High. 

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Sixteen Candles (1984): 

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Church scene: Glencoe Union Church, Park Street, across from Metra Station, Glencoe, IL.

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Party scene: Jake Ryan’s house,  1407 Waverly Rd.  in Highland Park, IL. 

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Sadly, the exterior and interior shots used for the school scenes are no longer accessible. Niles East High School, at 7770 Lincoln Ave. in Skokie, IL was torn down in ’92. 

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It was also used in Risky Business and Weird Science. 

Now. For the avid fan, a little trip like this is worth the many moments of vicariousness we share when we’re marveling in the philosophy of Hughes. So if you live nearby, or find yourself in the Chicago area, go! When I stood where Sam sees Jake appear after her sister’s wedding, I wanted to hum “...just like the rain, I’ll be always falling, only to rise and fall again..” but, you know, it was hot outside. And when I was at the Ryan household, there was no toilet paper strung from the trees, but I did wonder if his father’s Rolls Royce was still parked in the garage, and if pizza was still spinning on the turntable. (Okay, no, I didn’t…just deal with my sarcastic, fake naiveness.) And when I creepily hung out around Glenbrook North’s campus, while 15 year old boys playing soccer had no concept of why I was taking pictures of empty parking lots, I inducted myself into the club for breakfast. When I ventured to Cameron’s home (when Cameron was in Egypt’s land), I wanted to jump up and down and sing “Oh Yeah” by Yellow. Then, I stood on the bridge beyond the house where I had a perfect view of the home’s back window, and I peered down into the ravine for a solid 10 minutes trying not to drool. The fact remains, life moves pretty fast…and we all know what’ll happen if we don’t stop to look around.

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Discussion

40 thoughts on “Shermer High School, Shermer Illinois, 60062.

  1. One of my favorite It’s Always Sunny… episodes makes a great reference to Yello’s Oh Yeah. Hmm.. I wonder if HTML code is going to work for italicizing the name… but anyway… when charlie and mac are arguing over the direction they want to take in their new mail job. Mac decides he wants to take a chance that will save the company millions and then he explains that “they play that song from the 80’s. Day Bow Bow… Day Bow Bow… Chick-Chicka” Anyway, long story short I’m kind of jealous over the fact that you visited Jake Ryan’s house, Ferris Bueller’s school, and the field from The Breakfast Club

    Posted by Mawk (Boston Accent) | February 24, 2009, 11:24 pm
    • Haha, HTML did infact come through.
      I have seen that Sunny episode and believe it is in my top 5 favorite episodes of all time.
      I feel like Mac doesn’t directly reference Ferris Bueller, but that’s okay. We all know what’s going on.

      Posted by thehoff | February 25, 2009, 2:00 am
  2. A few scenes from planes, trains and automobiles were fmed near Chicago. One of them was at a tiny little motel called tha Braidwood Inn in Braidwood, Illinois. Oh John Candy, how I miss your cartoon. Camp Candy lives.

    Posted by Christophaer | February 26, 2009, 3:26 pm
    • I’ve drove by it many times. It’s now called The Sun Motel and it’s horrifying! I went in there and it looks like a bomb went off! It’s filthy and the restaurant in the back where John Candy and Steve Martin ate is all closed down! The ceilings were leaking water, buckets everywhere to catch the drops! A portion of the rooms are boarded up, complete dump! I saw 3 Hindus sitting in the office and one lady must have been 90 years old sleeping on a cot. Absolute filth, If they had any knowledge or education they would clean it up, put up pictures or huge photo’s of the movie. Would guarantee the room John and Steve slept in would be booked for months to stay there. It’s right off the Highway, place could be a gold mine. Bunch of dumb ass owners

      Posted by big jon | February 12, 2013, 9:47 am
  3. good job! finally, someone posted a recent picture of jake ryan’s house!

    Posted by Ken | July 21, 2009, 3:17 am
  4. Who wrote that? It is incorrect about the breakfast club hallways being at glenbrook
    north. that film was wholly shot at the former Maine North HS. The hallway scenes from
    Ferris were shot in that building (i think). Maybe that is their confusion? I mean, i
    know TBC scenes were shot inside that building, outside of the football field, that was
    the only shooting location.

    oh well, at least someone went exploring.

    -alexander

    Posted by alexander | July 29, 2009, 9:49 am
  5. You brought back wonderful memories of Northbrook Illinois…
    Went to school at GBN graduated in 1972.. and lived a few doors down from John Hughes..His films will live on and so will John..

    Posted by Paula | August 12, 2009, 1:18 am
  6. thehoff,
    You blew my mind. In the back of my mind I have always wanted to check out movie locations anyway, let alone for fantastic hits like TBC, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Sixteen Candles.
    I have been in Chicago only once and even that for couple of days.
    Rest assured you have inspired me to go to those addresses and check them out.
    This whole idea is especially exciting to me as I am not from the USA. When I saw those films it was like “in a galaxy far far away.”

    Thank you :)

    Posted by JofeAmoraw | September 18, 2009, 11:06 pm
  7. Awesome pix and excellent research! Why so many movies at these similar locations though? Why Ill.? I’ve seen a lot of High School hallways playing HS football and they all have a similar flavor. Those scenes could have been filmed at most high schools in the 80′s. But everytime I watch these classics, I can almost smell that same old “school” smell. If not for the love for my wife and kids, I wish I could go back to HS and do it all over again.

    Posted by James | March 5, 2010, 1:03 pm
    • It seems most of the locations were in IL because director John Hughes grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and felt very connected to the way suburban life connected to being a teenager. I do agree that any of these movies could have been filmed in any other suburban area though. I guess this is just a case of doing what you know best. And Hughes knew the North Shore. Creatively, Hughes wanted to capture something authentic, maybe autobiographical even.

      Posted by thehoff | March 5, 2010, 1:27 pm
      • I just found TBC in a forgotten folder on my computer and watched it (again) this year. I got here because I turned to Google when I got curious about the 60062 zip code and Shermer High School read aloud by Michael Anthony Hall at the start. I’m 45yo now and just finished another 14 more years in high school –a very urban one!– but as a teacher this time. I grew up going to school in a very rural area with tiny towns people seemed to think of as, or pretend were, “suburbs.”

        I’ve watched Ferris Beuller, TBC and all the other HS movies from the ’80s about every 2 years — if not more. And Carl the Janitor in TBC is _Oh_*SO*_Right_ when the principal says the kids have turned on him and Carl replies by telling him that the kids haven’t changed… he has!

        Every year I can look at my students and easily see my friends, the sports jocks, princesses, the “Freaks & Geeks” (another great TV show that died too early), and they all have pretty much the same issues as we did going to school in the ’80s. We keep getting older and farther removed from teen-hood, but teenagers are always teenagers.

        And the locations? I was recently at my old rural school looking around and these films could have easily been shot there or my current inner-city urban school just as could have been where they were or any of the suburbs where I substitute taught. Even Judd Nelson at the football field.

        Posted by Ed J. | December 12, 2011, 11:46 pm
      • Wow, what a great comment to read! So many share in your thoughts, that we all keep getting older, but teenagers will always be teenagers – and that is perhaps why these movies hold up so well! (John Hughes was a genius for that!) Some people can watch these movies without recognizing that, but between the lines, these films are archives of something really fundamental in us as humans. Carl the Janitor is one of those characters in TBC that contributes some of the most interesting perspective! Take care.
        K

        Posted by thehoff | December 13, 2011, 12:02 am
    • theHoff said it well. In specific, John Hughes went to Glen Brook North high school. And you’re right these high school scenes could have been shot anywhere; Hughes filmed several scenes of Ferris Buehler’s Day Off outside of Illinois e.g., the Dean’s office, Ferris’ house etc.

      Posted by Chad | March 5, 2010, 7:42 pm
  8. I am 40 yrs old now and I look back on that decade and wonder where all the time went. I came of age during that 80′s. Sometimes I wish I could go back. Being an adult really sucks but as the saying goes *Time and tide wait for no man*. Life goes on and we have to accept that. I watched the film *The Breakfast Club* last night. It had been almost ten years since I last saw it. Although I have seen it many times I still enjoy it. For an hour and a half I was transported back to my high school days.

    Posted by John, Miami, FL | June 14, 2010, 5:35 pm
  9. The Breakfast Club came out when I was in college in Florida. I had moved to Florida several year earlier. I had seen previews for The Breakfast Club and thought the school looked just like Maine North, my old school (No internet yet, couldn’t just “look it up”). I went to see the movie with my friend and started yelling in the theater that that was my high school. My friend said I was wrong because it said “Shermer” High School, not Sherman..my last name at the time. I said no, I went to that high school. I was so loud, I think the whole theater heard me. I was so excited. By the way, I believe the hallway scenes were filmed at Maine North. I remember the lockers. I love watching the movie with my teenage children and still yelling “Hey, that’s my high school!”.

    Posted by JG | June 26, 2010, 2:07 am
  10. Oh my goodness :O I have to say, if I ever went to any of these locations I would probably go unconcious from the nostalgia taking over my body! Especially going to “Shermer High”, it would be amazing! It’s too bad the “library” from TBC wasn’t shot there, or an actual library, I would absolutely die to stand in that room! I would totally run through those hallways screaming “I WANNA BE AN AIRBORN RANGER!!!” :D

    Posted by Jamie | July 28, 2010, 6:28 am
  11. OH MY GOD! OK, so I was not even born when any of the films were out, even so. I have and always will be a John Hughes fan.Gosh, is’nt nostalgia great?
    Ok…firstly I am writing this at 2:00am London, UK time. How random! I was reading Kevin Smith’s Jay&Silent Bob comics. If you are a fan of Jay&Silent Bob comics and/or films, you will know Silent Bob is a huge fan of Hughes films.
    In one of the comics Jay&Bob decide to find Shermer, I’ll. I have been in love with the location scenes and have always wondered if it was real. I personally love Cameron’s home and Jake Rayan’s house, TBC school/feild. I so thankful that my curiousity took over and me being wide awake helped. I decided to google Shermer, I’ll and came across this page.
    Firstly, I would like to say a big ‘Thank You’. This is a wonderful thing to have come across at 2am in the morning. I am so jealous of the locations you have visited and to see pictures, side by side of the original film scenes is amazing.
    I have always wanted to check out actual film locations, but never knew what film(s) to check out. Well, you have made up my mind for me.
    I am in my final year at univeristy, once I graduate (summer 2011) I will be on a plane to Shermer, Il.
    R.I.P John Hughes you have stolen the hearts of many teens and adults alike, with your wonderful films. In all honesty, John Hughes is all I ever watch. Even in secondary school in German class, we watch Ferris..:)
    If I get around to checking the above places out, I would love for you to be my tour guide.
    Thank you for the brilliant info and photo’s. I will start planning my trip…:)
    Lot’s of love from London, UK.
    Nimo.X..:D

    Posted by NIMO | September 14, 2010, 6:21 am
    • I’ve never read Kevin Smith’s comics, but, in this Hughes documentary that just came out a couple of months ago: http://www.dontyouforgetaboutmethemovie.com ….Smith gave some really great commentary — and you could totally tell he’s a huge fan of Hughes. Have you ever seen the movie Mallrats? It’s an early 90s American movie Kevin Smith made, and Jay and Silent Bob are featured in it, and the entire premise kind of goes hand in hand with what any director inspired by Hughes should do during that time.

      Now, about the film locations. Shermer, IL actually is not a real place. Sorry to disappoint on that technicality. It’s a fictional name that Hughes came up with based on where he grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. He went to high school at Glenbrook North, which happens to be on….none other than Shermer Road. And the zip code, 60062, is the same as Northbrook, IL, Hughes’ hometown. (All of these areas are within accessible distance of each other. The ‘northshore’ of Chicago is a little bubble of towns he filmed in.)

      Oh, and Cameron’s house was recently up for sale about a year ago. Here’s a New York Times article that had some great shots and info. http://raisingtheroof.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/ferris-bueller-house-on-the-market/

      Thanks Nimo, and you’re welcome for the 2 a.m. find! Those are the best kinds.

      Kim

      Posted by thehoff | September 15, 2010, 7:46 am
      • FYI, the name “Shermer, IL” is derived from the actual town of Shermerville, which changed its name in 1923 to what we all know it as today–Northbrook.

        Posted by Aardy | May 4, 2011, 8:04 pm
      • Nice bit of knowledge. Thanks for sharing, Aardy!

        Posted by thehoff | May 4, 2011, 9:45 pm
  12. Ha, I am just watching The Breakfast Club on UK today! Whooop…:D
    I seriously love this film.

    Posted by NIMO | September 21, 2010, 5:08 am
  13. I often wondered if these movie were filmed in Illinois… I love all of these John Hughes movies… They bring back a few memories for me…

    Posted by Carlyle Cowherd | December 22, 2010, 2:38 am
  14. I have had the opportunity to visit Chicago several times. Each time I go I find myself saying “I wonder where does Ferris lives” as if he is still there. Same for Cameron and just about any other John Hughes film character. This site is amazing. I grew up watching all of these films. I actually was old enough to catch a few of them in the theaters when they initially were released. The earlier Hughes films I had to wait for them the PREMIER (ha!) on HBO/Cinemax. The movie the soundtracks really changed my life. Growing up in the south they gave me connect to culture and life beyond my own.

    As soon as I was old enough I moved out west and continued listening to the music that I discovered thanks to these films represented here. Each of the characters are now bit of my personality and character as an “adult”. From Sam, Ducky, to Cameron they are all apart of me as they are of all apart of you here. Thanks Mr. Hughes and thanks to theHoff!

    Posted by Lee Jackson | March 4, 2011, 8:51 pm
    • Thanks for the comment, Lee! I hear a lot of people with similar feelings! And I too feel at times like I’m a little bit Andie and a little bit Samantha Baker. I even relate to Cameron sometimes, too! It’s timeless characterization, we make it our own.

      Posted by thehoff | March 8, 2011, 12:03 am
  15. Awesome- Just awesome!

    Posted by Skip | March 23, 2011, 6:45 pm
  16. Hello. I just found your site after making a visit to Chicago myself and stopping at a few of these places too! We did Northbrook, Des Plaines and of course The Art Institute. Though the latter was enjoyed for various other reasons, I am so happy to have had this experience and see these places myself. I got to wondering if anyone else had made and recorded a similar trek and here you are! I hope your venture to “Shermer” brought you as much joy as it did my boyfriend and I! By the way, we discovered the water tower as a total fluke, hadn’t even planned to see it and there it was as a nice little surprise! – fellow geek.. haha

    Posted by CDA | June 17, 2011, 4:51 am
    • Hi There!
      That’s wonderful, I’m so glad you two enjoyed your trip and found all those great locations.
      Everytime I go to the Art Institute, The Smiths “Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want” always gets stuck in my head and I think of Cameron.
      John Hughes’ commentary from Ferris is really wonderful when he’s describing his ideas for the museum scenes. When Cameron focuses on that little boy in the painting, the closer he looks, the less he sees… which, wow, is quite perfect in describing Hughes films as a whole. The narrowness of teen angst disallowing themselves from really seeing the bigger picture… but of course, we see it! As his audience, and his greatest fans. : )
      Okay, that was a long rant, but you really got me thinking! And I love when readers comment on this post.

      Fellow Geeks, indeed!

      Best,
      Kim

      Posted by thehoff | June 19, 2011, 6:12 am
  17. I am so psyched to find out I am not the only one who is this into Hughes and his movies as I think my friends may think I’m a little nutty. :-) I read a few of your other posts about Hughes (I’m on a big kick right now being that we just got back from Chicago haha) and I too got teary eyed after reading that Vanity Fair article! I grew up in a small desert town in Southern California. It was such a small town that there wasn’t a lot of wealth but there were definitely stereotypes and a feeling that I didn’t really fit in with any of them. I knew people like these characters in High school and though they are teens.. heck I know people like these characters now, in my late twenties.
    I really felt a sense of “so this is what inspired all of these movies” while driving around the suburbs. It was lovely and green and the weather was perfect and I almost wish I’d grown up in these towns and not the hot desert with a lot of close minded kinds who didn’t understand why I liked morrissey or 80s movies so much hehe.
    Hughes was such a sensitive soul and that VF article was so telling of this but it didn’t surprise me. I just watched Ferris again when we got back from our trip but now I am inspired to watch it again with the commentary after your quote! Very interesting observation you made. It’s so true. I thought I was so isolated back in those teen days, only to find out there were so many people who felt just like me, but at the time, thinking I was the only one with succh strife seemed much more important! :-) I will stop rambling now though but i’m sure I could go on! haha I will have to put some of my pictures on flickr and send ya a link to our visit to “Shermer”

    Posted by CDA | June 20, 2011, 1:43 am
  18. I just “liked” your page on facebook! My so called life and Daria references? Yes please! :-)

    Posted by CDA | June 20, 2011, 1:45 am
  19. I regard something truly interesting about your web blog so I saved to bookmarks.

    Posted by http://mensengagementrings.ca | March 19, 2012, 8:48 am
  20. Every time i watch a 80′s/90′s flic I cant help to think if the location is still intact, especially in these cult classic film locations you visited… I mean even as a CHILD, I remember thinking to myself. “If I were only able to visit one film location it would be the house in Weekend At Bernie’s.” Today I did some research on the site and found out that the house was built just for the film and tore done after filming… My heart just sank! It should be considered a sin to distort such classic film locations… >=/ Thank you for sharing your photos, I really enjoyed scrolling through them.

    Posted by Brian Clarke | March 29, 2013, 11:12 pm

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