History of St. Mary's High School
On May 14, 1994, a grand reunion of all St. Mary's High School graduates was held at St. Mary's Church and Hillcrest Restaurant. The following is a brief history of St. Mary's High:
In 1888, St. Joseph's School on Pond Street opened for the first time to 850 boys and girls of mostly grammar school level. After several years it became apparent that high school training was needed. In 1891, the gym at St. Joseph and the basement at St. Mary's Church were the first locations for St. Joseph High for girls, and LaSalle High for boys. In 1892, the boys high school had to be discontinued for a few months pending the arrangements of better accommodations. At Christmas time, it was moved into the end of a large hall on the top floor of the school, and eventually into a tenement house on Lexington Street.
It was Reverend James Baxter, Sixth Pastor of St. Mary's Church who built the new high school on Lexington Street and changed its name from St. Joseph's/LaSalle to St. Mary's. A fund drive was launched on May 16, 1920, and the building was completed in 1923. For the next 50 years St. Mary's turned out outstanding students. Approximately 2400 boys and 2600 girls have graduated from St. Mary's and its predecessors St. Joseph's/LaSalle during its total of 82 years.
Unfortunately, due to economic conditions, the doors were closed on Sunday, June 3, 1973.
From its first years, the school had always held a high rank in its standards of scholarship and in public competition. In 1893, they participated in The Columbian Exposition in Chicago and won a gold medal for class work.
Shorthand and typewriting were among the specialties of the school for more than half a century. In the early part of this century, one St. Mary's boy won the world championship for typewriting. One class alone - the Class of 1909 - had produced three college presidents.
Joseph Nipper Maher, the founder of Little League Baseball in Waltham, graduated from the school in 1922. The Waltham Museum has his class picture in its archives. The Museum also has the St. Mary's 1945 and 1946 yearbooks, and St. Mary's 1949 yearbook for girls. We also have their 1913 Jubilee Fete book which celebrates their first 25 years of operation.