On This Date In Twin Cities History - November 10, 1871

St. Joseph's Academy circa 1887 (MHS)
St. Joseph’s Academy circa 1887 (MHS)

On this date in 1851, St. Mary’s boarding school opens in St. Paul. In July of that year, Bishop Joseph Cretin had invited the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in Missouri to assist him in preaching the Catholic faith to St. Paul’s growing community.

Mother St. John Fournier, along with Sisters Francis Joseph Ivory, Scholastica Vasques and Philomene Vilane arrived by steamboat in St. Paul on November 2. They opened the school eight days later in the former log chapel built by Father Lucien Galtier.

A year later the school was moved to a two-story brick building. It 1859 the school was renamed St. Joseph’s Academy and was again relocated to the present day site of St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Eventually needing more space, the Sisters acquired land on what was then the outskirts of the city of St. Paul in an area known today as Cathedral Hill. In 1863, the first building on the campus of St. Joseph’s Academy was built on the corner of Marshall and Western Avenues.

Today this is one of the oldest surviving buildings in St. Paul. Due to declining enrollment and other factors, St. Joseph’s Academy closed its doors in 1971. On June 5, 1975, the buildings of St. Joseph’s Academy were listed on the National Register of Historic Places.