The History of Champaign St. Mary’s High
Champaign (population 75,220) is located in the east-cental portion of Illinois in the heart of the county it is named after. Interstate Highway 57 and 74 travel directly through Champaign while Interstate Highway 72 gets its start and heads west from Champaign. U.S. Routes 45 and 150 also travel through the city of Champaign as do Illinois Routes 10 and 130. CSX Transportation and Illinois Central are two of the railroad lines that pass through town as well. Several small rivers and creeks flow into and out of the city. Champaign is most well known for being the home of the University of Illinois.
The city was first settled in the early 1850s and officially incorporated in 1855 when the Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks through the area. The town is named after the town and county of the same name in the state of Ohio.
Ross Brown provided the following history information regarding Champaign St. Mary’s High School:
“St. Mary’s Catholic Church was established in 1854 as the first Catholic parish in Champaign County. Its first church was destroyed in a tornado and rebuilt in 1858 on the same site at Park Street and Wright Street. The third and current church building opened in 1888.
St. Mary’s Parochial School was founded in 1878 students through high school. A new building was built in 1915 on the same site as the original. St. Mary’s School offered religious education for students through the 11th grade until 1931, when the school cut back to just first through eighth grade. Catholic nuns served as school teachers. The school maintained an enrollment of around 250-300 students most of its history. St. Mary’s School was closed after the 1967-68 school year. The building had several interim uses afterward, including the Champaign County Mental Health Center. It was demolished in 1997.
Upon the school’s closure, students transferred to Holy Cross School in downtown Champaign, which is still active today along with St. Matthew School in western Champaign. After going 42 years without a Catholic high school, the Peoria Diocese established The High School of St. Thomas More in 2000 on Mattis Avenue at the north edge of Champaign.
St. Mary’s Catholic Church is still active today. It offers weekend mass as well as a daily mass at OSF Heart of Mary Medical Center, formerly known as Mercy Hospital, which is located across Wright Street from the church.”
Champaign St. Mary’s High School Quick Facts
Year opened: late 1800s?
Year closed: 1931
Athletic teams nickname: unavailable
Athletic team uniform colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable