Helena School - 529 N. Warren Finished
1909 - Demolished in the Winter of 2007-2008
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Helena Grade School on N. Warren, adjacent to St. Helena Cathedral.
It was contracted in 1908 by Bishop John Carroll, and designed
by architect Von Herbulis, who also designed the Cathedral.
the Helena Diocese announced its intention to demolish the historic
but long-vacant neoclassical building. That same year, the school
appeared on the Montana Preservation Alliances list of
Most Endangered Places. Demolition of the building began in
December of 2007. On March 7 2008, the Independent Record
published a story
about the final phase of the demoliton.
Monsignor Victor Day, rector of the cathedral,
dedicated the school on Sept. 7, 1909. The Sisters of Charity
of Leavenworth staffed the school and classes began the next day.
building served as a grade school until 1936. At the time, girls
attended high school at St. Vincents Academy while boys
attended Mount St. Charles High School.
a 1935 earthquake damaged St. Vincents Academy beyond
repair. The Rev. James Tougas, the rector of the cathedral,
made room at St. Helena School for the displaced students.
a 1936 Carroll College commencement, Bishop Joseph Gilmore announced
that a co-educational high school would move into St. Helena
School. The grade school was remodeled and Cathedral High School
the next 18 years the grade school and high school students
shared the same building. But in 1954, as high school students
outgrew the building, construction began on Helena Central High
School the building that now lines 11th Avenue and stands
attached to St. Helena School.
Two former students have emailed to say that the building, including
the 1954 addition, was always known as Cathedral High, not Central
High as the article states.] - KB
name St. Helena School was changed in the 1960s to Bishop Gilmore
School. But in 1969, Bishop Raymond Hunthausen announced that
both Helena Central High School and Bishop Gilmore School would
close at the end of the 1969 school year.
cited increasing financial difficulties as the major reason.
Helena Central High School now houses the Cathedral of St. Helena
Parish, while the Bishop Gilmore School has sat empty for more
than 20 years, its future riding on a decision by the parish.
Postcard View of St. Helena School
OF KENNON BAIRD
St. Helena School Tuition Receipt
OF RICHARD ALBERTS
Helena School Band, March 4, 1957
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of St. Helena School
WINTER 2007- SPRING
COURTESY OF TOM KILMER
On March 27, 2008
Tom Kilmer added...
on the demolition of the St. Helena School
proceeds at a slow pace. They started the real destruction on
the east side. The walls appear to be thick and stout. Real brick
construction, not just brick facing."
2008 - Demolition Progresses
Many thanks to
Tom for these evocative photos of St. Helena's last days.
St. Helena School Time Capsule Opened
April 8 2008
April 8, 2008, workmen opened the cornerstone of St. Helena School,
and retrieved the copper box pictured above. It had been sealed
since June of 1908. Independent Record reporter Martin
J. Kidston covered the event. Read
the story in the IR archives. Thanks to Judy
Bakke for the heads-up about the article.
Clip of the Demolition Process, Spring 2008
COURTESY OF TOM KILMER
Interior Exposed, Spring 2008
OF TOM KILMER
Time-Lapse Video of the Demolition Courtesy of Scott Nelson
from the St. Helena School, Winter 2009
OF TOM KILMER
and other stonework from the school have been placed in a field
east of Resurrection Cemetery.