Alton Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral

he History of Alton Saints Peter & Paul Catholic 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.

“On August 29, 1859, property south of Ss. Peter and Paul Church extending back 444 feet to a stone quarry was purchased as a location for the Bishop’s residence and a school.  The school for boys began at once.  It contained two classrooms and four small living rooms for the Brothers of the Holy Cross (Notre Dame, Indiana) who came the following year to teach.  The Brothers of the Holy Cross continued to conduct this school for boys from 1860 to the summer of 1888 when, at their request, they ceased their labors in Alton.

Meanwhile, the Ursuline Sisters from St. Louis arrived in Alton in March, 1859.  At once they opened an Academy and Boarding School and the Parish School for girls at 506 State Street.  It is known as the Mansion House and still stands today.  Their parish school continued until 1862, when they moved to their new residence on Fourth Street where they conducted both a “pay school” and a “free school” for girls.

Then in September 1888, the Ursulines came to Ss. Peter and Paul School and made it a free school for all boys and girls of Alton who wished to attend.  A high school, better known as the Cathedral High School, was also begun and continued until 1927 when the last class transferred to the new Marquette High School.

On March 3, 1907, the parishioners decided to build a new school.  On October 8, 1908, the cornerstore of the present structure was laid, and on September 9, 1909, classes began in the new building.  In 1929-30, the present building which houses the gym and cafeteria was completed.”

Alton Saints Peter & Paul Catholic High School Quick Facts

Year Opened:              1888

Year Closed:                1927

Also Known As:            Alton Cathedral High School

Consolidated to:           Alton Marquette High School

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