Saint Benedict's Preparatory School (Part 1)

by Charles McGrath

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In 1841 on the corner of Grand (later renamed Howard Street) and Court Streets a small wooden German catholic church was built. It was called Saint Mary's. In 1846 it was decided to move the old wooden church to the corner of High (formerly Bellevue) and William Streets. The contractor who was responsible for moving the church quit during the move. For three weeks the church sat in the middle of High Street; however, services continued until a new contractor could be hired. The old wooden church can be seen on the abpve map from 1853.

In 1856 the old wooden church no longer met the growing needs of the parish. A new (the present day church) church was built. This church was dedicated on December 20, 1857. Benedictine monks came from Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1857, to take over the care of the German immigrants who made up the community of Saint Mary's parish.

The Abbey is to the left of the church going down High Street towards Springfield Avenue. Saint Benedicts Prep is to the left of the Abbey. To the right of the church is Saint Mary's School. The parish school was founded in 1863. If one chose to visit Saint Mary's School today they would see the footprints of yesterday. Directly above the entrance to the building its name is carved in stone. Saint Mary's Schule ( which is school in German).

Saint Benedict's College was founded in 1868, with 20 students, a faculty of four. In 1917 it became Saint Benedict's Preparatory School.

The aerial picture below shows my beloved Alma Mater, Saint Benedict's Prep. Springfield Avenue is on the top of the picture. Upper left is South Orange Avenue and Kearn's Korner. High Street is in the center of the picture and William Street in the lower portion.

Click here to see photo.

This is what our students and alumni refer to as the "Bee Hive".


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