The history of St.James Academy goes as far back as 1883, and being the first secondary education school in Lemont. The Academy was first built in the summer of 1883 on an old apple orchard on the intersection of Illinois and Sate Streets by Reverend James E. Hogan, a young and energetic priest who believed that it was necessary for any progressive parish to have a strong education. The stone used for the building was donated by the generous men of the Lemont stone industry and hauled by the parish farmers to the construction site, showing the communities support for this new school. The structure still stands as a two story Italianate style building constructed from Lemont Quarry Stone. The dimensions are 50x60 feet and 28 feet high as well as a cupola which raises the height to 65 feet on top of the cross. Adjoined to the building is the Sisters’ house which is 28 x 30 feet and two stories tall to accommodate the 12 sisters whom lived and taught at the school. The first floor of the Academy was divided into a study room, a chapel, a recitation room, and a music room and the second floor is divided into two large study rooms that could be turned into one study room able to sit up to 600 people. The project costed a total of $14,000 equivalent to $368,832 in today’s dollar. “The building is to be of stone and commodious dimensions and will ever stand a monument to Lemont’s pride and the memory of her most energetic priest. God speed Father Hogan in his noble undertaking” -Will County Commercial Advertiser, August 23, 1883. The academy opened its doors on September 16,1883 under the supervision of the Sisters of Providence along with 120 students. St.James Academy was later changed to St.Patrick's school and functioned as a grade school and then a gymnasium and library until 2003 when the doors of the building officially closed, not to be opened again until renovations in 2019.
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