Gonzaga High College
Up-Dated  07-22-10

Francis John Cantrel  94  (44)

Alvin A. Turner  89  (48)

History of Gonzaga College High School

Gonzaga is the oldest educational institution in the old
Federal City of Washington. Gonzaga College opened its
doors to the young men of the Federal City in 1821.

It was then located on the north side of F Street, N.W.,
between 9th and 10th Streets. The building's foundation
stone had been laid in 1815 by Bishop Leonard Neale,
auxiliary to Archbishop John Carroll, the first American
bishop of the Catholic Church. Both men were originally
Jesuits. The building was first intended to become a House
of Novices for the Jesuits, but this plan was abandoned.

According to one report, the building housed a small school
during the period of abandonment. However, after standing
empty for several years, the Jesuits finally entered their
building in 1820 and started a House of Philosophy for
Jesuit Scholastics. In the months that followed, the Jesuits
were besieged with requests from Catholics and
non-Catholics alike in Washington to allow their sons into
the college (which was originally under the charter of
Georgetown College), not to become Jesuits, but for a
good basic education. The Jesuits agreed, and the
Washington Seminary, as Gonzaga was originally called,
began classes for lay students in 1821.