For over a century, this site was part of St. Mary Catholic Church, established to serve the many German families moving into the area in the 1860s.
A primary mission of St. Mary's parish has been the education of its children. The first parish building, located to the west of this site, was built in 1865 and served as the church, rectory, and schoolhouse.
Joliet Franciscan nuns began teaching at the school in 1875, and a convent was built on the southern portion of this site, near the present gardens.
Rapid parish growth prompted the construction of this schoolhouse in 1887. An expansion in 1896 doubled its size. Grade school classes were held in the building for 69 years, when a new grade school was built south of the church. St. Mary's High School relocated here in 1956.
After graduating its last class in 1968, the property was sold and converted to commercial use. A historic renovation was completed in 2015, and the building is now a private residence.
Caretakers of a Legacy