The History of Bishop Muldoon Catholic High School
Rockford, Illinois is one of Illinois’ core cities. It is located in extreme Northern Illinois. Interstates 39 and 90, as well as U.S. Routes 20 and 51 and Illinois Routes 2, 70 and 251 all take you to the third largest city in Illinois. Rockford was first settled in 1834 by Germanicus Kent and Thatcher Blake.
Girls were educated at the St. Thomas School beginning in 1912. In 1929, the school split into two with a new St. Thomas School built (for boys) and Bishop Muldoon (for girls), a three-story structure on Rockford’s west end. This school was completed in Septemper of 1929. Bishop Edward Hogan dedicated the new Catholic high school for girls, named Muldoon in honor of Rockford’s first bishop, the Rev. Peter J. Muldoon. He had served as bishop from 1908 until his death in 1927.
The Bishop Muldoon High School operated for 41 years, from 1929 to 1970. In 1960, freshmen classes began at a newer co-ed school which was built on Rockford’s north side bringing in students from Muldoon and St. Thomas schools. This school is called Boylan Central Catholic High School.
George Fornero has provided a more comprehensive history of St. Thomas and Muldoon High School histories.
St. Thomas and Bishop Muldoon High Schools, Rockford IL
“Muldoon High School began as St. Thomas High School in September 1910 at St. James School in Rockford. The school, co-ed in the beginning, was initially staffed by the Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters. The 1st class consisted of twenty (20) students; the next year there were seventy (70) students. The school was relocated from St. James Elementary School to the former Ellis School at the corner of State & Stanley Streets in Rockford in 1912. After some remodeling & expansion, classes began at the new location on November 9, 1912. To address the ever-growing enrollment, classes were held in the Knights of Columbus clubroom in the fall of 1920. Further over-crowding led to the purchase of the Coliseum on West State Street in 1921.
In 1929, separate schools were built for the boys and the girls. The boys attended the new St. Thomas High School on Mulberry Street and the girls attended the newly constructed Muldoon High School located at Stanley and Elm Streets. Cardinal Mundelein blessed the new high school on May 25, 1930. The Sinsinawa Dominican Sisters withdrew from Muldoon High School in 1933. They were replaced by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. Muldoon High School closed in 1970 & the students transferred to Boylan Central Catholic High School, also in Rockford. Enrollment at Muldoon was 300 under the direction of 14 Adrian Dominican Sisters and one (1) lay teacher during the 1963-64 school year. Enrollment during the 1966-67 school year was 335 under the direction of 13 Sisters and four (4) lay teachers.
Initially, the Christian Brothers operated St. Thomas High School for Boys from 1929 until 1933. In 1933, the Augustinian Fathers took over the operation of the school. (They relocated from Aurora where they operated Fox Valley High School which later became Marmion High School!) In an attempt to increase enrollment, the school changed its name to St. Thomas of Villanova Preparatory School for Boys in 1960. However, declining enrollment forced the school to close in 1962 and the students transferred to Boylan Central Catholic High School.”
The Muldoon building had been converted into a clinic, called the Muldoon Grove Crusade Clinic. It is still in operation under that purpose.
Bishop Muldoon High School “Quick Facts”:
Year opened: 1929
Year closed: 1970
Named for: Rev. Peter J. Muldoon
Building Status: Muldoon Grove Crusade Clinic
School Colors: White & Gold
School Mascot: Unavailable