In 1822, a Jesuit priest, Father John McElroy came to Frederick and served as pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church until 1845. In 1829, Father McElroy established St. John’s Literary Institution for boys located on East Second Street in downtown Frederick. Father McElroy was also responsible for building the present St. John’s Church next door, which was completed and consecrated in 1837. After he left Frederick, Father McElroy went on to found Boston College and was elected its first president in 1863. Catholic education for boys continued at St. John’s Literary Institution by the Jesuits until 1902 when they left and the school and church property was turned over to diocesan priests from Baltimore. In 1915, Father William Kane, the first diocesan pastor, persuaded the School Sisters of Notre Dame to staff the school. Eventually the original school building was torn down and a new building was built in 1925 to accommodate the school population which now enrolled girls. This building housed both elementary and high school students until 1958 when, due to crowded conditions, the high school moved to a historic mansion, called Prospect Hall. In 1991, the elementary school was officially designated as a regional school to serve the educational needs of the Catholic parishes in Frederick. The School Sisters of Notre Dame continued teaching at St. John’s on East Second Street until 1995.
Catholic education in Frederick began and continues today because of the ideals and dedication of strong individuals with a vision. St. John’s has meant Catholic education for thousands of Frederick County residents for 180 years. – Compiled by Bill Mohan, Class of 1954
Click on the following links for news stories about each school year since our August 2005 move from Second Street.
Thank you to Pat Crowley of the Crowley Company for providing this archival service