|Sts. Peter & Paul High School|
The History of Chatsworth Sts. Peter & Paul High School
Chatsworth (population 1,225) is located in east-central Illinois in Livingston County, about 45 miles away from Bloomington, Champaign, and Kankakee. The community can be reached from the east or west by US Route 24, and County Highway 3 from the north. Two railroads cross in town, with the Toledo, Peoria, and Western (east-west) meeting the Bloomer Line (north-south). A branch of the Vermillion River also runs thru the community on the east side.
The history of Chatsworth goes back to 1831 when Franklin Oliver stopped in the area on his way west from New Jersey. He befriended a group of Kickapoo Indians, who lived near a natural lake and large grove of trees, and they invited him to stay thru the winter. The Kickapoos later moved westward, and Oliver purchased over 4,000 acres of the land in which he spent the rest of his life. Part of that land today is being planned for development for homes around the lake, and has already been annexed into Chatsworth. Some of it still has remnants of the former Rockford-Champaign stage coach line, with artifacts such as arrowheads, harnesses, and hatchets still there along with some stage coach ruts.
Chatsworth was founded in 1867 as the railroads made their way across the country. The country home of the Duke of Devonshire in Great Britain was (and still is) called Chatsworth, and it was decided to call the new village the same name.
The origin of Sts. Peter & Paul High School traces back to 1883 when St. Patrick Academy was formed by the Sisters of Providence. A three-story brick building served as a convent, school, and dormitory for the boarding students and nuns.
A total of 110 students were enrolled that first year at the school, which changed its name to Sts.Peter & Paul in 1899 when the Sisters of Providence were replaced by the Sisters of the Holy Cross. That order saw the expansion of the curriculum from grade school to include high school in 1916.
The high school was built right behind the convent and was ready that same fall. Unfortunately, the high school was closed in 1921 for reasons unknown. The grade school took over the building as the nuns expanded their space in the older building to where the classrooms were previously.
We are uncertain if the buildings are still existing today. Sts. Peter & Paul Church (which opened in 1877) continues to serves the needs of the Catholic community in the Chatsworth area today.
FACTS ABOUT CHATSWORTH STS. PETER & PAUL HIGH SCHOOL
Year organized: 1883
Name changed: 1899
High School opened: 1916
Year closed: 1921
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