Alton Saint Patrick High School

The History of Alton St. Patrick High School

Alton (population 30,496) is located in southwestern Illinois about 15 miles north of St. Louis, Mo.  Alton sits in the northwest corner of Madison County.  U.S. Route 67 and the Illinois Routes of 143, 111, and 3 all lead to and from Alton.  Alton is a true river town, being platted on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River.  Several railroad lines including the Southern Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Gateway Western all travel through Alton.

Alton was established in 1837 according to the town’s official website address of  According to the website address of  Alton has an incredibly historic past.  It was the site of where Lewis and Clark left for their journey to explore the west.  It was also home to Illinois’ first state penitentiary.

“By 1859, the old church was now the school. For years the children sat on the kneelers and used the pews for desktops. One big classroom served the school except for one additional room in the sacristy.

The sisters left Decatur in 1870 because of hardship and distance from their motherhouse in Montreal. In 1871, Ursulines from New York came and they too left because of difficulties and distance. The pastor, Fr. Hickey requested Ursulines from Alton, Illinois. The Ursulines in Alton were contacted and responded. Beginning in 1873, Ursulines served at St. Patrick School for more than one hundred twenty years.

Boys and girls were now taught at St. Teresa Academy. In 1880, the high school department opened. In 1882, Fr. Mackin had a four-room brick building erected on the east side of St. Teresa. This new building on Eldorado, across from the present rectory, opened for boys and girls in 1882 and was named St. Patrick School. Their first graduation was in 1884.

Fr. Jeremiah Murphy built the present St. Patrick Church in 1909. Our present St. Patrick School, built in 1912, had “eight large rooms.” In 1918, the high school was discontinued.”

Alton St. Patrick High School Quick Facts

Year Opened:           1880

Year Closed:             1918

Consolidated To:       St. Teresa Academy for Girls

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