The History of Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys
Aurora (population 142,990) is located in far northeastern Illinois in the southeastern portion of Kane County. Interstate Highway 88 passes through the northside of Aurora. Illinois Route 31 passes through town from north to south and U.S. Route 30 passes through the south side of town. The Burlington Northern Railroad line makes its way through town as well. The Fox River curves through Aurora from the north to the south. According to the 2000 Illinois Census, Aurora is the 3rd largest city in Illinois.
A nice history of the town of Aurora can be viewed at http://www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org/pages/91.html. In summary, this article tells us that the area of Aurora was first settled in 1834 with the town officially incorporated in 1845. Its location along the Fox River made it an instant success with the textile mill and grist mill industry. The Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad line made its way to Aurora in 1856 futher bolstering the town’s industry. Aurora has grown from a population of over 11,000 in 1870 to today’s (2000) population of over 142,000.
Charlie Essig tells us that Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys was created in the 1920s. The main building for the school was erected in 1926. Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys stood strong through 1933. It was this year that the monks of St. Meinrad Abbey combined Jasper Academy in Indiana with Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys. The school was restructured to become a military school in 1935 and the name was changed to Aurora Marmion Military Academy.
Additional information about the formation of the school comes from the pages of the “History of the Catholic Diocese of Rockford, Illinois” written in 1924 by the Rev. Cornelius J. Kirkfleet states that the school was a vision of Bishop Peter Muldoon, who believed in having centrally located Catholic high schools in the larger populated areas of his diocese (such as Rockford, Freeport, Sterling, and Aurora). In the summer of 1923, Bishop Muldoon agreed in principle to pay $17,000.00 for a site on Lake Street between Illinois and Wilder Avenues, and invited seven parishes in the community to raise the funds.
Each parish had its own quota for its own share to go towards the cost (based on parish strength) and raised the money needed to purchase the site. Even though another site was also considered at the corner of Root and College Streets, the Bishop stated that the Lake Street site was his preference and the pastors of the seven parishes obliged their superior. The School Sisters of St. Francis from Milwaukee were also asked to assume teaching duties at the school, contingent of financial arrangements to make the move to Aurora to relocate, which they did, and Fox Valley Catholic High School became a reality.
For further information on this school check out the following web addresses:
Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School Quick Facts
Year opened: Early 1920’s
Main building erected: 1926
Year combined with Jasper Academy: 1933
New name: Marmion Military Academy
Fox Valley Catholic HS nickname: not available
Fox Valley Catholic HS colors: not available
School Fight Song: not available
We are certain that the boys of Fox Valley Catholic High participated in interscholastic athletics. It is probable that the boys played basketball, baseball, and track. The coaches’ names and team records are needed. Also needed are the team colors, fight song, and team nickname.
Other activities such as dances, class plays, and various clubs may have been a part of the Fox Valley Catholic High School experience as well. We are hopeful an area fan or alumni can help us with this information.
As noted by Charlie Essig.
Francis “Chick” Hearn:
“Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys’ most notable student was probably, Francis “Chick” Hearn, famed broadcaster of the Los Angeles Lakers. Chick attended Fox Valley for a year or two before transferring to East Aurora High School, from which he graduated in the early 1930’s.
Chick started his career doing high school games on WBNU in Aurora before moving to Peoria with WMBD and later to Los Angeles, where he became noted for broadcasting 3,338 CONSECUTIVE Laker games.
Chick was credited with inventing such colorful phrases as, “slam dunk” and “air ball”:
Chick was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame the American Sportscaster Hall of Fame
“Another notable student was Charles Ronan, emeritus professor of history at Chicago’s Loyola University.”
Seeking More Information
If you have more information you would like to share regarding Aurora Fox Valley Catholic High School for Boys please complete a School Submission Form or write us a note on the Guest Commentary page. We are especially interested in a photo of the current school building. You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can write to us at:
Illinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva Ave.
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