Maine North High School – Des Plaines, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

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Maine North High School

Where a brain, a beauty, a jock, a rebel, and a recluse met one Saturday and changed their lives forever.  


Open for just 11 years, Maine North High School shuttered permanently in 1981 due to low attendance. However, a few years later, it reopened its doors temporarily to a handful of students who collectively became known as The Breakfast Club. 

Because Maine North’s library was too small for filming purposes, John Hughes’s production team built the now-iconic library set in the school’s defunct gymnasium. Principal photography took place between March and May of 1984, utilizing the gymnasium, several hallways, and the front parking lot. 

Although The Breakfast Club is nearing 40 years old, film buffs can still find traces of the beloved coming-of-age movie. At the bottom of the rightmost stairwell at the front of the building is a window into lower levels of the old school. Directly across from the window sits a small shrine to the film, including a framed poster and a sign that reads, “The film ‘The Breakfast Club’ was filmed in our building.”

The building is now owned by the Illinois State Police and is used as an Illinois Lottery payment facility. The famed room where the bulk of the movie was filmed is now a warehouse, used to store confiscated and lost items. Much of the exterior remains the same. Visitors will be able to recognize the spots where Allison’s car nearly hit John Bender, where Claire gives Bender her earring, and where Hughes himself picks Brian up after detention. 

Know Before You Go

Unless you have official business inside, entry is not permitted. However, visitors are free to walk around outside.

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March 26, 2021

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