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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

St. Mary's Institute

 
 
St. Mary's Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
1. St. Mary's Institute Marker
Inscription.
Many immigrants from both the United States and Europe were attracted to the Republic of Texas after it became independent from Mexico in 1836. Among the new Texans were missionaries of various faiths, including the French Catholic priest Jean Marie Odin. Odin's immediate work was spiritual ministry and renovating crumbling churches that the Spanish had built years before, but his long-term vision was education. He raised money to construct schools and recruited teachers from Catholic religious orders in Europe, including the Brothers of the Society of Mary who came to San Antonio in 1852 to teach boys. St. Mary's Institute was completed here on the San Antonio River in 1853. Known later as St. Mary's College, it outgrew this site, and in 1894 a new campus was completed in the northwest suburbs. Elementary and high school students continued to study in the riverside buildings for many years, and after 1934 St. Mary's School of Law occupied the site. The historic buildings were sold in 1967 and converted into a hotel.
 
Location. 29° 25.504′ N, 98° 29.436′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker can be reached from San Antonio River Walk 0.1 miles east of North St. Mary's Street when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker
Marker detail: Four-story structure image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Witte Museum, San Antonio
2. Marker detail: Four-story structure
St. Mary’s Institute was designed by Francois Giraud, a French surveyor and architect. The school was composed of several buildings, including this four-story structure with dormer windows and balconies.
is located on the San Antonio River Walk, east of the North St. Mary's Street access point, on the south side of the river and adjacent to the Selena Bridge river walk-over. Marker is in this post office area: San Antonio TX 78205, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old San Antonio National Bank Building (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Twohig House (about 300 feet away); Staacke Brothers Building (about 500 feet away); Site of the Old Adobe (about 500 feet away); Majestic Theatre (about 500 feet away); Twin Cypress Mexican Sniper Tree (about 500 feet away); San Antonio's River Walk and Flood Control System (about 500 feet away); Stevens Building (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
 
Regarding St. Mary's Institute. Sixteen years after the fall of the Alamo, in 1852, four brothers of the society of Mary arrived in San Antonio to establish a school. Construction of this building began immediately and opened its doors on March 1, 1853, to more than a hundred students. In fall of 1854, two additional brothers joined the faculty and by 1870, it was a well-proportioned structure of limestone, typically European in style.



The campus grew and prospered
Marker detail: Students in the school's courtyard image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Witte Museum, San Antonio
3. Marker detail: Students in the school's courtyard
St. Mary's Institute offered a wide variety of courses including language, science, and the arts. Painting was taught by local artist Theodore Gentilz, seen here (at far right) with a group of students in the school's courtyard.
as St Mary’s academy until 1924 and after that as St Mary’s College. From 1934-1966 the building housed St Mary’s University School of Law. Two former students purchased the property in 1966 and work began on a new hotel. In April 1968, La Posada opened its doors as a luxury hotel, just in time for Hemisfair, San Antonio’s 1968 World Fair. Omni Hotels acquired the hotel in 2006, renaming it the Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel.
 
Also see . . .
1. About St. Mary’s: History in a Timeline.
Four French Marianist missionaries traveled to Texas to open a school at the behest of Galveston Bishop John Mary Odin. In May 1852, these brothers stepped off the Indianola stagecoach to get a glimpse of downtown San Antonio where they would establish their school. Click through these pages to read the highlights of St. Mary’s University’s rich and storied history, from our early days in the 1850s through today. (Submitted on June 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. St. Mary's University, San Antonio.
For forty years after the Marianists arrived in Texas in 1852, their educational efforts were directed toward serving the primary-school children in San Antonio at St. Mary's Institute and San Fernando Cathedral School. St. Mary's had both day students and boarders. As the latter group outgrew even subsequent buildings, it became necessary to move the boarders to newly built St. Louis College
Marker detail: La Posada Hotel, 1970 image. Click for full size.
Counesy Zintgraff Collection, Institute of Texan Cultures, San Antonio
4. Marker detail: La Posada Hotel, 1970
The buildings that housed St. Mary's Institute and, later, St. Mary's Law School were extensively remodeled and opened as La Posada Hotel just in time for HemisFair '68. The hotel, seen here in 1970, was one of the first along the River Walk.
in West Heights in 1894. At first utilizing the physical facilities of both the downtown and the West Heights locations, the college prospered so well that it was necessary to add new buildings in 1908 and 1921. (Submitted on June 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. St. Mary's University, Texas.
Founded by the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 1852, St. Mary's is the oldest Catholic university in Texas and the American Southwest. Founded as St. Mary's Institute, the school opened on Aug. 25, 1852, with a faculty of five and an enrollment of 12 boys. In 1921 all college classes were transferred from downtown to the St. Louis College campus. In 1923, St. Louis College became St. Mary's College with an enrollment of 12 in the freshman class. Grade school and high school students remained at the downtown school, which adopted the name St. Mary's Academy. The new St. Mary's College quickly gained senior college status and in 1927 the first class of bachelor's degree candidates graduated from the newly renamed St. Mary's University. (Submitted on June 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. Churches & ReligionEducationSettlements & Settlers
 
St. Mary's Institute Marker (<i>wide view; Selena Brige over San Antonio River in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
5. St. Mary's Institute Marker (wide view; Selena Brige over San Antonio River in background)
Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel, 2018 (<i>compare to La Posada Hotel, 1970, photo on marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
6. Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel, 2018 (compare to La Posada Hotel, 1970, photo on marker)
Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel (<i>view from San Antonio River Walk</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
7. Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel (view from San Antonio River Walk)
Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel (<i>view from San Antonio River Walk</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 21, 2018
8. Omni La Mansión del Rio Hotel (view from San Antonio River Walk)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 11, 2018. This page originally submitted on June 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 52 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on June 3, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on June 4, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7, 8. submitted on June 5, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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