Saint Charles Catholic School

     A parochial school was established at the fledgling parish of St. Charles three years after the arrival of its first full-time pastor. A donation of $4,500 by George Baldwin of Appleton, WI, gave the impetus, but many others, some of them not of the Catholic faith, also made major contributions, and many others, in the truthful words of the pastor, "gave what they could". The building was of brick construction, decorated with red sandstone. The dining room, kitchen, laundry and furnace were located in the basement. There were two large classrooms on the first floor. They could accomodate as many as fifty pupils each. The second floor was planned for the housing of the sisters who would teach, but eventually it too was converted into classroom space. The attic was intended to be used by boarding students, and so it was a few years after the school was opened.
     September 7, 1908, was the date when first its doors were open, and shortly thereafter Bishop John Shanley came to bless it. Benedictine Sisters from Yankton, SD, welcomed the first students.
     In 1915, the school began to accept girls as boarders. There were only three the first year, but later there were as many as thirteen.
     In 1920, Irish Presentation Sisters from Fargo took over the school. From 1923-1925 the school was closed. Then came Benedictine Sisters from Garrison, ND, and they were succeeded by Sisters headquartered in Arbourg, Manitoba. In 1933, the French Presentation Sisters from Valley City began to staff the school.
In 1955 the school witnessed the largest graduation in the history of the parish school, as nineteen eighth-graders received their diplomas.
     The sisters of Saint Francis of Hankinson began to provide the staff in 1956. For a few more years, the enrollment continued to be about 100. But then, in the 1960's, a decline set in. Finally, in 1966, the school closed. In 1977 the building was demolished.
(The Oakes Centennial Book p.123; published 1986)

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Char Kibbie
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