On June 17, 1839, King Kamehameha III issued the Edict of Toleration permitting religious freedom for Catholics in the same way as it had been granted to the Protestants.
In 1841, Father Louis Maigret, the Vicar delegate, divided Oʻahu into missionary districts. Father Martial Jan was assigned to supervise the Koʻolau district. By the early 1850s, the windward coast of Oʻahu was dotted with chapels.
The Sacred Hearts Father’s College of Ahuimanu was founded on the Windward side of Oʻahu in 1846 by the Catholic Mission under the direction of the Fathers of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
One of its students, Damien (born as Jozef de Veuster,) arrived in Hawaiʻi on March 9, 1864, at the time a 24-year-old choirboy. Determined to become a priest, he had the remainder of his schooling the College of Ahuimanu.
On May 21, Damien was ordained a priest at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace in downtown Honolulu; he spent the rest of his life in Hawaiʻi. In 2009, Father Damien was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.
The College of Ahuimanu flourished; as reported by the Bishop in 1865, “The college and the schools are doing well. But as the number of pupils is continually on the increase, it has become necessary to enlarge the college. First we have added a story and a top floor with an attic; then we have been obliged to construct a new building. And yet we are lacking room.”
In 1881, the school moved to its second location in former Rev. Richard Armstrong’s home, ”Stonehouse” (named after the residence of Admiral Richard Thomas in England,) on 91 Beretania Street adjoining Washington Place. At that time, the name “College of St. Louis” was given to the institution in honor of Bishop Louis Maigret’s patron Saint, Louis IX.
Pacific Commercial Advertiser noted that “The College of St. Louis, an Hawaiian Commercial and Business Academy, offering Classical, Scientific and Commercial courses,” also offered in its curriculum courses in Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, German, and Italian. An evening session offered adults “theoretical and, practical knowledge of commercial and business transactions.” (Soong)
Growing enrollment soon required the Mission Fathers to relocate the school, again; this time, they found a site on the banks of Nuʻuanu Stream. The College at Aʻala was placed under the direction of five pioneer Brothers of Mary who arrived from Dayton, Ohio in 1883.
St Louis continued to be affiliated with the Society of Mary, a religious order of brothers and priests called Marianists. The Society was founded by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade, a priest who survived the anti-clerical persecution during the French Revolution.
The Nuʻuanu Stream front campus was accessed via “College Walk” street; it’s now a linear mall/park fronting the stream (however, no school or college is there anymore.)
In the years following, it became evident that the elementary and high school departments were in need of still larger quarters. Encouraged by parents and alumni, the Marianists laid plans for a greater St. Louis College.
In 1923, they purchased 205 acres at Kalaepōhaku in Kaimuki; classes began there in 1928.
December 8, 1941 the US Government commandeered the campus for the use of the 147th General Hospital. Elementary students attended classes at Saint Patrick School and high school classes co-located at McKinley High School.
Sharing a campus by the high schools led to a fierce rivalry. To ease some of the tension, reportedly, Saint Louis football coach (later Honolulu Mayor) Neal Blaisdell created the “poi pounder trophy,” to go to the winner of the annual Saint Louis/McKinley football game (this continued from 1942 to 1969.)
After sixty-seven-years of providing education at grade levels one through twelve, the elementary and intermediate grades were withdrawn one-grade-a-year, beginning in 1950.
In 1955, the Marianists established Chaminade College on the east end of the Kalaepōhaku campus (it was initially named the Saint Louis Junior College; with it, Saint Louis College was renamed to Saint Louis High School.)
In 1957, Saint Louis Junior College became co-educational and a four-year college and the school was renamed to Chaminade College of Honolulu (named after the Society of Mary (Marianists) founder.)
St. Louis’ high school classes continued on campus until 1979, when the school’s Board of Trustees voted to re-incorporate intermediate grades seven and eight, beginning in fall, 1980. A sixth grade was added and the intermediate grades were then converted to a middle school beginning with the fall semester of 1990.
Today, Saint Louis is an all-boys private Catholic school, grades six through twelve; they note it is a school “Where Boys Who Want to Change the World Become the Men Who Do.”
The image shows St Louis College at its Aʻala facility at College Walk on Nuʻuanu Stream. In addition, I have added some related images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook and Google+ pages.
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