The History of Kankakee St. Patrick High School
Kankakee (population 27,491) is located in northeastern Illinois in central Kankakee County. It is the county seat of Kankakee County as well. The town was established in the mid-1800’s and prospered when the Illinois Central Railroad laid tracks through the area. By 1900, Kankakee had a population of 13,500, which was quite large for that time period. Kankakee is approximately 15 miles west of the Indiana state border. The following roadways now lead to and from this busy metropolis: Interstate Highway 57, U.S. Route 45, Illinois Routes 17, 50, 102, 113, and 115. The Kankakee River flows through the middle of town and is joined at some point by the following creeks that also flow through Kankakee: Gar Creek, Soldier Creek, and Baker Creek. Three railroads also lay tracks which pass through town: Illinois Central Gulf, the KBSR, and the CR.
St. Patrick’s High School opened for business in 1922, as a result for the need to offer a parochial high school in the Kankakee area. St. Viator College in nearby Bourbonnais was formed in 1860 by the Viatorian order, whose main concern was to educate. The college was still open until 1938 before it closed, but St. Patrick’s continued to educate the Catholic youth of the Kankakee area.
The school was also known as St. Patrick Central from 1955 until 1964, when the name was changed Bishop McNamara High School in honor of the first Bishop of the Joliet Diocese, Martin D. McNamara.
FACTS ABOUT KANKAKEE ST. PATRICK HIGH SCHOOL
Year opened: 1922
Year name changed to St. Patrick Central: 1955
Year name changed to Bishop McNamara: 1964
School colors: Green, Gold, & White
School nickname: “Irish”
School song: unknown