LaSalle St. Patrick Academy for Girls

LaSalle St. Patrick Catholic Church
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LaSalle, IL–been in operation since in 1838

                     The History of Lasalle St. Patrick Academy for Girls

LaSalle (population: 9,796) is located in north central Illinois along the Illinois River. Interstates 39 & 80 meet near the community, and US Route 6 along with Illinois 351 are among the main roads that bring people to LaSalle.

The history of the area goes back to 1673 when Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet travelled upstream on the Illinois River, but it wasn’t until 1837 when the community was first platted. Incorporation took place in 1852 and LaSalle is known for its cement and mineral-based products.

Two men, Frederich W. Matthiessen and Edward C. Hegeler, formed a partnership and established the Matthiessen & Hegeler (aka M & H) Zinc Company in 1858. Both men would leave their mark in the community in notable fashion, donating money to worthy causes, having a park named after one of them (Matthiessen State Park), and the other left a mansion that is worldly-renowned for its style of architecture (Hegeler-Carus Mansion). One of Hegeler’s daughters married a man who would become prominent in employing a number of residents, the Carus Chemical Company.

Rene Robert Cavalier Sieur de La Salle was a contemporary of Jolliet and Marquette who explored for the French. LaSalle found that the Illinois River was navigable northward to the community, from which point there were spots where boats had to carried around rapids in order to make it the present-day site of Chicago. As a result, the Illinois and Michigan Canal was created and completed between 1836-1848 between a much smaller Chicago and LaSalle to help river traffic from Lake Michigan make its way to the Mississippi River and eventually to New Orleans.

The Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Emmitsburg, MD helped open LaSalle St. Patrick’s Academy for Girls on June 25, 1855 in a brick house on 2nd Street. This all-girls’ institution accepted both day and boarding students, mixing cultural and useful (or practical, every-day) subjects in its curriculum from the beginning. A two-story building was built and opened in 1891 when the school’s enrollment reached 200.

Due to the closing of St. Patrick’s Academy for Boys in 1909, a new school was formed when St. Patrick (also known as St. Vincent) High School opened as a co-ed institution. It is also possible that students from Academy of St. Joseph in neighboring Peru attended the new school when their school was closed due to the religious order leaving St. Joseph.

The co-ed school remained open until 1929, when low enrollment, inadquate facilities, and other schools in the area contributed to its closing. A grade school remains at LaSalle St. Patrick as use for Trinity Catholic Academy. The fate of the high school building is unknown.


Year open:                                                              1855

Year it merged with St. Patrick Academy for Boys:    1909

Year that St. Patrick/St. Vincent HS closed:              1929

School colors:                                                         unknown

School nickname:                                                    unknown

School song:                                                           unknown


about LaSalle St. Patrick Academy for Girls as well as the school that succeeded it, St. Patrick or St. Vincent High School. If you have anything that you can share with us, including photos, memories, and facts, please contact us at or using the USPS to send your information at:

Illinois HIgh School Glory Days

6439 North Neva

Chicago, IL  60631

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