Friday, May 2, 2008

History of St. Mary's School - 1917

Did you ever wonder why we call the basement of the church "Dalton Hall?" Read on!

History of St. Mary's School
1869 - 1917
This history of our school so dear,
Will interest members far and near.
But when you read it, bear in mind,
These facts were very hard to find.

In the year 1869, a little frame school house was built on the corner of Hoyt and Howard streets on the property donated to Saint Mary's parish by Mr. Curtis Emerson. It was a two-story square building, painted gray and faced the parochial residence. This building served not only for a school, but was also the residence of the good sisters who were in charge, surrounding it was a high board fence, which extended as far as the church; thus confining the children to the playgrounds in which they could enjoy every game popular at that time. It also obstructed the view from the public highway.

On September second, of the same year, the first Catholic school opened its doors to the children of Saginaw under the supervision of three Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. One hundred and fifty pupils were enrolled, the number increasing to two hundred before the close of the year. Rev. Fr. Vander Baum, who was then Pastor, established the Sodality of the Children of Mary and the St. Aloysius Society.

In 1874, the parish was divided, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary were withdrawn and their place was filled by the Sisters of Providence. During the interval that elapsed between the change, Miss McEntee took charge of the institution. The ground was deeded to the Sisters of Providence who moved the frame building back and erected, at their expense, the present St. Mary's School which was opened in September, 1878, and continued under their supervision until 1907. The school and property were then purchased by Rev. Father Dalton, Fr. Vander Baum's successor, and placed in charge of the Sisters of Saint Dominic.

On October 10, 1914, Rev. Father Dalton passed to his eternal reward. Rev. E. A. Caldwell, a former member of the parish, was appointed to succeed him as Pastor.

St. Mary's High School was affiliated with the University of Michigan in the year 1912, being subject to examination every year. In 1915, the High School displayed such great progress and efficiency and had added so many improvements that the Board of Examiners listed it for two years.

St. Mary's Literary Society was established in 1911, and the Auditorium fitted up in 1914 as a suitable place for its meetings and programs. The pupils have derived innumerable benefits from the latter, having developed dramatic as well as literary powers.

With the graduates of '15, will ever be united the memory of having bravely attempted and successfully issued the first edition of the School Annual, "The Labarum," while to the Class of '16 is given the honor of having proved that St. Mary's numbers some excellent athletes among its members. This class has brought credit to the school through the organization of a basketball team, which has victoriously closed two seasons.

To the Class of '17 has been conferred the honor of seeing the St. Mary's Alumni Association established on April 10, 1917.

Some of the most prominent people of our city today attended this school in their youth, among them being Rev. Dean Caldwell, our Pastor, Mr. F. J. Wolfarth, Mr. Leo Weadock, Mr. Bert Lenahan, and Mr. Ed. Germain.

--Virginia E. Klees

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