The History of Alton Saints Peter & Paul Catholic High School
Alton (population 30,496) is located in southwestern Illinois about 15 miles north of St. Louis,
Mo. Alton sits in the northwest corner of Madison County. U.S. Route 67 and the Illinois Routes of 143, 111,
and 3 all lead to and from Alton. Alton is a true river town, being platted on the banks of the mighty
Mississippi River. Several railroad lines including the Southern Pacific, Burlington Northern, and Gateway Western all
travel through Alton.
"On August 29, 1859, property south of Ss. Peter and Paul Church extending back 444 feet to a stone quarry
was purchased as a location for the Bishop’s residence and a school. The school for boys began at once.
It contained two classrooms and four small living rooms for the Brothers of the Holy Cross (Notre Dame, Indiana) who came
the following year to teach. The Brothers of the Holy Cross continued to conduct this school for boys from 1860 to the
summer of 1888 when, at their request, they ceased their labors in Alton.
Meanwhile, the Ursuline Sisters from St. Louis arrived in Alton in March, 1859. At once
they opened an Academy and Boarding School and the Parish School for girls at 506 State Street. It is known as the Mansion
House and still stands today. Their parish school continued until 1862, when they moved to their new residence on Fourth
Street where they conducted both a “pay school” and a “free school” for girls.
Then in September 1888, the Ursulines came to Ss. Peter and Paul School and made it a free
school for all boys and girls of Alton who wished to attend. A high school, better known as the Cathedral High
School, was also begun and continued until 1927 when the last class transferred to the new Marquette High School.
On March 3, 1907, the parishioners decided to build a new school. On October 8, 1908,
the cornerstore of the present structure was laid, and on September 9, 1909, classes began in the new building. In 1929-30,
the present building which houses the gym and cafeteria was completed."
Alton Saints Peter & Paul Catholic High School Quick Facts
Also Known As: Alton Cathedral High
Consolidated to: Alton Marquette High School