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The New School

1909_St. Alphonsus Boys 5th Grade

Father Joseph Beil, who became pastor in 1901, took on the new school building project. First he doubled the dimensions of the convent, which had become too small for the growing community of teachers. Then he was free to devote his undivided attention to the school.

Ground was broken in August of 1902. Mr Zeivel, the contractor, and Mr. Beiler, the architect, employed a large laboring force. The school building was ready for occupancy in September of 1903. It was 185 feet long, 90 feet wide, four stories high and had 24 spacious classrooms. The big basement was designed to shelter the children in bad weather and used for indoor bazaars, festive gatherings and society meetings. The cost of the building was $117,000.

1909_St. Alphonsus Girls ElementaryAll the societies of St. Alphonsus parish and kindred organizations of other parishes joined in a grand parade on the day of the dedication, September 20, 1903. More than 1,000 men with brass bands and drums and fife corps marched to St. Alphonsus Church. Along Lincoln Avenue, they were met by 1,650 school children, each carrying a flag or banner. After the church services, Archbishop Quigley, assisted by many of the clergy, solemnly blessed the new school building.

On October 1, 1903, a solemn High Mass was offered for all school benefactors and attended by all the children. After the Mass, these 1,650 youngsters walked along Wellington Avenue and entered, for the first time, into the great red new school building and took their places in their classrooms. The tower bells rang out triumphantly announcing to the congregation that a new era had been begun at St. Alphonsus.