The History of Venice St. Mark’s High School
Venice (population 2,528) is a town located in southwestern Illinois along the Mississippi River. The city sits on Il. Route 3 approximately 4 miles northwest of East St. Louis. The Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Terminal Rail Road Association, or TRRA as most know it, of St. Louis Railroads run through the city. It is located in western Madison County.
The town did support its own public high school (Venice High School) along with two different high schools for African American students (Lincoln and Newport). In addition to these schools, Venice enjoyed a catholic high school as well. St. Mark’s High School existed in Venice for a brief time in the early 1900s.
The following information on St. Mark’s High School is from our good friend Donn Hornberger:
“This Roman Catholic high school was only open for a few years. It closed only due to the death of the Principal and parish priest, Fa. Peter Paul Kaenders. The Sisters of the Most Precious Blood were responsible for daily school activities.
This was the FIRST catholic high school in the Tri Cities (Venice, Madison, Granite City). As far as we’ve been able to discover, there hasn’t been another Catholic high school in the Tri Cities to replace St. Mark’s.
We know the number of total students was small, approximately 40 high school students. Naturally, the grade school had more students. This is in the parish records. The grade school continued to operate in Venice for several decades, finally closing in the early 1980’s. This means the high school has been closed for almost 100 years as of this posting date.
At this time, we have precious little data other than the parish record citing the existence of the school and photos of the building. The building, which hosted both the grade and high school, was torn down in the early 1950’s.”
Venice St. Mark’s High School Quick Facts
Year opened: 1909
Year closed: 1913
School team nickname: unavailable
School team colors: Blue & Gold
School Fight Song: unavailable
Athletics and Extra-Curriculars
Venice St. Mark’s High School boys probably competed in basketball. We believe they may have competed in track and baseball as well. St. Mark’s High School’s team nickname,school fight song, coach’s names, and records of the St. Mark’s teams are all items we are seeking.
We know athletics could not have been all of the functions offered at Venice St. Mark’s High. It is probable that chorus, band, and other extra-curricular activities were offered as well.
More Facts About St. Marks HS and Parish
From the Venice Historical Project and Donn Hornberger:
“St. Mark’s was the only high school in Venice at the time and operated for four years, 1909-1913. St. Mark’s closed in 1913 when Fa. Kaenders became too ill to continue administration.
Other factors entered in to Venice decisions such as the other three main churches in town, Lutherans, Methodists and Baptists, supporting construction of a new community high school. In those early 20thC decades it was unlikely protestants would attend the Catholic high school. However, attendance at a new community high school accepting all faiths presented a convergence of interests for all citizens.
The new VHS was ready for students in 1917.
St. Mark’s first principal: Fa. Peter Paul Kaenders (pictured below)”
We Are Seeking Your In-Put
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can offer any further insight or information on the history and accomplishments attained at Venice St. Mark’s High School. Items can be mailed to us at:
IIlinois HS Glory Days
6439 N. Neva St.
Chicago, Il. 60631