History

St. Mary’s School
St. Henry’s School
St. Joseph’s Grade School (Haverhill
Lenihan High School
Marshalltown Area Catholic School
St. Francis Catholic School

St. Mary’s School

St. Mary’s established the first Catholic primary school in Marshalltown in 1878. A two year high school was added in 1890 under Fr. Mathias Lenihan. The school expanded and was moved to its current location across from the church in 1898. The high school was expanded to four years in 1904 under Fr. James Fitzpatrick. The school saw significant growth in the early 20th century. By 1925, the school was fully accredited by the State of Iowa. The gymnasium was added in 1933. December 12, 1940, a massive fire destroyed the school and all its records. The gymnasium survived with significant damage. The school continued in the gymnasium and church basement until the school was rebuilt September 28, 1941. By 1953, the school grew to 519 students in a building built to hold 300. Therefore, the school was split and a second Marshalltown Catholic school was established in 1959. St. Mary’s High School closed in 1965 in order to consolidate with St. Henry’s and St. Joseph’s (Immaculate Conception, Haverhill) into a new Lenihan High School. Following the eventual closing of Lenihan High School, St. Mary’s consolidated with St. Henry’s to form the Marshalltown Area Catholic School in 1971. Today, St. Mary’s houses grades 3-6. St. Mary’s School building (1941) and Gymnasium (1933) are scheduled to close in 2015 after consolidating its students at the St. Henry’s campus. The buildings are slated for demolition soon after.

St. Henry’s School

St. Henry’s School was created in 1959 to alleviate overcrowding at St. Mary’s School and housed grades 1 through 8. In 1965, St. Henry’s joined with St. Mary’s and Immaculate Conception (Haverhill) to create a new Lenihan Catholic High School. Upon the closing of Lenihan and St. Joseph’s (Immaculate Conception, Haverhill), St. Henry’s consolidated with St. Mary’s to form the Marshalltown Area Catholic School. Today, St. Henry’s houses grades PK-2. A construction project to expand St. Henry’s and bring all St. Francis Catholic School students to one location is expected to be complete by 2015.

St. Joseph’s (Immaculate Conception, Haverhill)

The St. Joseph Catholic School began as a one room school with 25 students in 1879. Originally only meeting when the public schools were not in session, the school evolved into a full school and was named St. Joseph’s in 1885. By 1911, enrollment reached nearly 100. The old building (former rectory) was torn down and the new school built in the same location October 17, 1911. St. Joseph’s reached its peak enrollment of 110 in 1935, serving grades 1-8. A gradual decrease began resulting in a low of 32 students in 1952. In 1965, St. Joseph’s join St. Mary’s and St. Henry’s in creating the new Lenihan High School. St. Joseph’s closed along side of Lenihan in 1971, with most of its students moving to St. Henry’s.

Lenihan High School

Lehnihan High School opened in 1965 as a joint venture between St. Mary’s, St. Henry’s, and Immaculate Conception (Haverhill) at a cost of $775,000. A combination of low enrollment, a change to lay faculty, and financially libabilities, cause Lenihan to close in 1970. The building was sold to the Marshalltown Public School and rededicated as a junior high serving grades 7-9. The name, mascot, and school colors of Lenihan high school were all maintained by the new public junior high. The public school added 6th grade to the building in 1984 but eventually closed it in 1989. The Marshalltown public school restructured the middle schools in 2006 which allowed Lenihan to reopen as an intermediate school serving grades 5 and 6.

Marshalltown Area Catholic School

Marshalltown Area Catholic School was formed in 1971 after the closing of St. Joseph’s Grade School (Haverhill) and Lenihan High School. The two remaining schools, St. Mary’s and St. Henry’s, found it necessary to consolidate, yet both buildings remained opened as separate attendance centers. The St. Mary’s building was again damaged by fire in 1976. Again, many records were lost as well as the upper section of the gymnasium. However, the school was repaired and classes continued. In 2011, structural problems revolving around the Sheffield Tile Flooring System at the St. Mary’s building caused Marshalltown Area Catholic Schools to evaluate its situation. It was decided steel supports would be added to St. Mary’s until an addition could be built at the St. Henry’s Attendance Center. St. Mary’s is scheduled to close in 2015, moving all of the Marshalltown Area Catholic School students to the St. Henry’ building.

Former Marshalltown Area Catholic School Principals

1970? Fr. William E. Clark?
1971-1975 Ray Pechous
1975-1996 James Agnew
1996-1998 Patricia Fox
1998-2006 Becky Jacobson
2006-2012 James Wessling
2012 – 2013 Dr. Matthew Herrick

St. Francis Catholic School

Following the discovery of structural problems at the St. Mary’s building in 2011, it was decided all students would be consolidated in one expanded St. Henry school building. The Archdiocese had been hinting for years that they’d like to see the name changed and local boards felt there was a need to make a clear distinction that the building is no longer “St. Henry’s building” alone. Therefore, a recommendation was made and approved by Archbishop Jerome Hanus on April 29, 2013 to change the name to St. Francis Catholic School (patron Saint Francis of Assisi.) The students were consolidated into the single building in February of 2015.

Former St. Francis Catholic School Principals

2013 – present Dr. Matthew Herrick