Swift School replaced an earlier school building that was adjacent to it. The earlier school, called the Edgewater School, and also referenced as a branch of the Goudy school on the 1905 Sanborn Fire Insurance map, stood to the south of the original Swift School building.
On January 24, 1912, property to north of the Edgewater school was purchased by the Chicago Board of Education for a new school. The cost was $3,500. Based on the addresses listed on the permit (5862-5926) five homes were torn down for the erection of the new school building and the playlot to the north.. The cost of the new building was $225,000. On September 18, 1912, the planned new school was named for George B. Swift, former Chicago Mayor and member of the Chicago Board of Education, who had died July 2, 1912. The permit for the new school was issued in April 1913. The architect was listed as A. F. Hussander, who was the Board of Education Chief Architect at the time. He was also the listed architect for the Senn and Peirce school buildings.
The school was opened for classes on February 2, 1914. Ms. Harriet B. Eckhardt was named principal. She had been principal of Goudy school before that.
During its first complete school year of 1914/15, Swift School had an enrollment of 760, with a faculty of 18, including the principal. The first faculty consisted of the following: Harriet B. Eckhardt, principal, Marie K. Snyder, Mayme Faulkner, Emma B. Scudder, Winifred Hammond, Nellie Conklin, Elsa Scheerer, Sophie Hoppel, Thekla Pfeiffer, Fay Cavanagh, Alice Pratt, Anna I. Harden, Blanche D. Mee, Kathryn McFarland, Annette Collopy, Harriet Clarke, Mildred N. Leach, Kindergarden, Gertrude L. Bach, Kindergarden
–information taken from a typed, undated, unattributed document in the files of the Chicago Board of Education; however, it is not a verbatim copy. The permit information is from the Economist.