Home to the Sisters of Ursuline established in 1894

    1894 (December)  Sister Maurice Albert and Sister Jerome Schaub left Kentucky and
    headed for Kansas

    1895 (May)  a 5 acre cornfield was purchased. People of Paola donated $725.00 to the
    Ursuline Sisters.

    1895 (July)  excavation for the Academy began at the cost of 12,000 dollars

    1896 (March)  the Academy was ready for occupancy

    1886 (June)  the Academy building was dedicated by Rt. Rev. Bishop Fink

    1896 (September) school opened with 4 boarders and about 40 day scholars
    - Two of the first students were Indian Boys who were left by their mother to be educated
    - One of the first kindergarteners became Mother Cecilia Koehler, third superior of Paola

    1898 (January)  the State Legislature of Kansas as the “Ursuline Academy of Our Lady of
    Lourdes” chartered the school

    1901  the first class to graduate with 4 years of academic courses

    1902  the Academy became exclusively a boarding school for girls with day school
    accommodations for the Academic grades

    1902  a small chaplain’s residence was erected and Rev. Father Hippalite Topet, became
    the first spiritual director. The building is now a home for a group of adults with
    developmental disabilities from Lake Mary.

    1903  The Ursuline Sisters taught at St. Patrick’s Holy Trinity Schools in Paola until 1995.

    1904  (3.5) acres were added to the original 5 and a second building was started. It cost
    22,000 dollars to build
    - This building is known today as the Mother House. This building contains the present
    chapel, dormitories, dinning and recreation halls.
    - The next decade was steady growth.
    -  The Academy was one of the leading educational institutions of Eastern Kansas and even
    though the tuition was fair the sisters were paid with goods, such as produce and chickens
    or services in lieu of fees.

    1913  the road dividing the Ursuline grounds was vacated by Mayor L.S. Smith.

    1916  the Auditorium and Music Conservatory was completed at a cost of $100,000. Wilder
    and Wright of Kansas City drew the design and F.M. Spencer & Sons of Topeka secured
    the contract. The auditorium seats more than 300 people.

    1919  a second house was purchased for the chaplain

    1922  the Academy became a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and
    Secondary Schools.
    - Both buildings became outgrown and the grounds were extended to include (30) acres to
    the south and west

    1924  a Jr. College was started- it offered associate degrees in a variety of fields and
    courses for the certification of teachers. Approximately 80% of the teachers in the rural and
    elementary schools of Miami County were trained at Ursuline College. Six superintendents
    received their college training at Ursuline.

    1926  the first class to graduate from the Jr. College had only 4 students

    1935  the largest class to graduate from the Jr. College had 21 students

    1941  the Ursuline Camp was opened, offering hundreds of boys and girls the opportunity
    for outdoor fun, sports and recreation every summer. Sisters who were on break from
    teaching would be counselors.

    1947  Ursuline College adopted the new American College concept whereby a Jr. College
    was considered a 4-year college by including grades 11 and 12.

    1957  Ursuline College closed

    1965  Mother Charles McGrath, with the cooperation of other Paola citizens, spear headed
    the effort that obtained a grant under the Older Americans Act of 1965 to start The Senior
    Center, with Ursuline Academy as grantee.

    1966  Five-acre tract of land valued at $25,000.00 was donated by Ursuline to the
    Assembly of God Church ministers to construct a nursing home, which is now Medicalodge.

    1969  One of Ursuline greatest accomplishments was the founding of Lake Mary. It all
    began with Sister Mary Charles McGrath, superior of the Ursuline Sisters.
    - The sisters contributed 34 acres of land and $50,000 to get the building started.

    1971  the teaching operation ended with over 50,000 students being educated

    1972  The lower level of the auditorium became the Happy Seniors Center where older
    adults enjoyed art, ceramics, games, films and parties.
    -  The PACA Food Pantry began in the Ursuline Mother house under the direction of Sister
    Eugene Reynolds.

    1977  Sister Elizabeth Dye helped organize and became the first project director of the
    Foster Grandparents Program.

    1978  Sister Charles McGrath and Sister Frances served on the Advisory Board of Poala
    United, whose aim was to develop a community education program.

    1985  Ursuline sold the auditorium to the City of Paola for $1.00. It is now known as the
    Paola Community Center.

    1986  The original Ursuline Academy building and its adjoining Brescia Hall directly to the
    west were torn down. The building served as the original home to the sisters and as
    classrooms for the academy itself.
    -  The cupola from the Brescia Hall finds a new home upon the Wilson Funeral Home lawn. It
    sits over a natural spring with a stone and concrete basin that collects water from the spring.

    1998  Builders for Christ, a group of volunteers for the Pearl Street Baptist Church, stayed
    at the Mother House for a summer during construction of the Baptist Church.

    2000  Friends of Ursuline Gardens was established to enhance, preserve, protect and
    restore the historic Ursuline Academy Campus Gardens utilizing local community volunteers.
Hannes Poetter Design and Sponsorship - all rights reserved
Miami County Historical Museum - 12 E. Peoria, - Paola, KS 66071 Phone: 913-294-4940
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