History in Photos: St. Peter Claver Catholic Church and Cardinal Gibbons Institute for Colored Students

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Children leaving St. Inigoes, Md., schoolhouse at lunch in the 1930's.

Children leaving St. Inigoes, Md., schoolhouse at lunch in the 1930’s.

Cardinal Gibbons Institute, Ridge, Maryland was a Colored Catholic School in St. Mary’s County. The Cardinal Gibbons Institute was St. Mary’s County’s first high school built to educate Blacks. Located in Ridge, Maryland, it provided academic, vocational and religious instructions to black students from across the United States.-

In May 1917, land was acquired for the school. Archbishop James Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, Maryland donated $8,000 towards the purchase of the land. Consequently, the new school was named after the Archbishop – Cardinal Gibbons Institute.

The Knights of Columbus National Board of Directors donated $38,000 towards the erection of the school building. In February 1922, Archbishop Michael J.Curley of Baltimore, Maryland approved the general plans of the Institute.

Cardinal Gibbons Institute was opened in September 1924 and dedicated in October 1924. Victor and Constance Daniels were hired as the Institute’s first principal and assistant principal. The Institue’s first graduating class held its commencement in June 1929.

Financial difficulties resulting from the Great Depression reportedly caused the closing of Cardinal Gibbons in 1933. Cardinal Gibbons was reopened by Father Horace B. McKenna in 1936. Nathan A. Pitts was hired as the Institute’s principal in 1936. In September 1952, the Oblate Sisters of Providence began their instruction at Cardinal Gibbons Institute under the direction of Mother Mary Anselm Bentley.

In June 1967, the last graduating class held it’s commencement, The school was closed due to new Maryland state laws regarding segregated education. In April 1972, Cardinal Gibbons Institute, also known as the Cardinal Gibbons High School, long abandoned and vandalized, was torn down. In June 1997, the first Cardinal Gibbons Institute/High School class reunion was held. From St. Peter Claver Church, St. Inigoes, Md. Enter to win Kindle Paperwhite. http://bit.ly/1H52GVs

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Who was St. Peter Claver?

Farmer drawing water from well in Ridge, Md., St. Mary's County, circa 1935

Farmer drawing water from well in Ridge, Md., St. Mary’s County, circa 1935

Well at Ridge being bored 1930s.

Well at Ridge being bored 1930s.

Delores Harris canning time in Ridge

Delores Harris canning time in Ridge, Md.

The Briscoe family home at Ridge, Md., in the 1930s.

The Briscoe family home at Ridge, Md., in the 1930s.

Chickens at Ridge not counting their eggs.

Chickens at Ridge not counting their eggs.

John Barnes and sons in Ridge

John Barnes and sons in Ridge

Child watching well being dug at Ridge, Md.

Child watching well being dug at Ridge, Md.

Shelling beans at the Frederick home in Ridge, Md.

Shelling beans at the Frederick home in Ridge, Md.

Witching for water with a peach limb in Ridge, Md.

Witching for water with a peach limb in Ridge, Md.

Mrs. Calip White and children on porch in 30s in Ridge, Md.

Mrs. Calip White and children on porch in 30s in Ridge, Md.

John Fredrick at outhouse in Ridge

John Fredrick at outhouse in Ridge

One room schoolhouse in Ridge, Md. in the 30's

One room schoolhouse in Ridge, Md. in the 30’s

Kitchen stove in the John Fredrick home in Ridge, Md.

Kitchen stove in the John Fredrick home in Ridge, Md.

Yamaicus house in Ridge, Md., in the 30s.

Yamaicus house in Ridge, Md., in the 30s.

Three of eleven children of Edward Gant, Ridge, Md. This photo was taken in the 1930's.

Three of eleven children of Edward Gant, Ridge, Md. This photo was taken in the 1930’s.

Gant children at St. Inigoes, Md.

Gant children at St. Inigoes, Md.

Bobby Gant at St. Inigoes

Bobby Gant at St. Inigoes, with his two sisters peeking around the corner as a photographer from Washington, D.C., gathered views of life in rural America during the Depression. Bobby Gant retired from the A & P, with his wife Dorothy, raised a large family of successful children; was elected to the St. Mary’s County Democratic Central Committee; appointed to the post of Chairman of the St. Mary’s County Metropolitan Commission and was a great crab eater. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY Historic Photo Collection.

The Biscoe family at Ridge, where a long-time local restaurant, marina and campground is operated by Vincent Biscoe, who may be in this photo taken in the 1930's.

The Biscoe family at Ridge, where a long-time local restaurant, marina, and campground, is operated by Vincent Biscoe, who may be in this photo taken in the 1930’s.

Cardinal Gibbons Institute main building, Ridge, Maryland

Cardinal Gibbons Institute  main building, Ridge, Maryland. This historic postcard is from the Mayor J. Harry Norris Collection.

Sisters of St. Peter Claver Church and students, many of whom likely want to Cardinal Gibbons School at St. Inigoes, Md.

Sisters of St. Peter Claver Church and students, many of whom likely want to Cardinal Gibbons School at St. Inigoes, Md.

3 of 13 Children of William Sanders in Ridge, Md. during 1930's.

3 of 13 Children of William Sanders in Ridge, Md. during 1930’s.