Here is the only picture I could find of the grade school I attended and the church that it was part of...St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica in Galveston and the Cathedral school. The picture of the school was taken in the 1880s right after it was built.
I attended St. Mary's school from the time I started Kindergarten in 1954 until right after I started in 7th grade in 1961, when the school was destroyed in Hurricane Carla. To raise money to build a new school, Father Dan (O'Connell, who the new co-ed high school was named after in 1969 after combining the all-boys' school and the 2 all-girls' schools, from the Dominican and Ursuline convents and the Christian Brothers' boys school) collected all the bricks from the old school building, signed each one with a Marks-A-Lot, and sold each brick for $5.00...he raised around a million bucks and the parish was able to build a new, modern school. I have 2 of them sitting here on the piano next to my workstation.
I was fortunate to have been there while Fr. Dan was around. He was a great leader and a great man. He never backed down and he never gave up when times got tough.
The church is the oldest cathedral in Texas, built in 1847. When Nicholas J. Clayton the architect designed and built the school in the 1880s, (his work reminds me of giant gingerbread houses), he kicked in some of his creativity and added spires and towers to the church. The statue of Mary, Star of the Sea atop the bell tower (visible behind the palm trees in the picture...pretty spooky place) was for years the tallest structure in Galveston and served as a beacon for incoming ships and has withstood all hurricanes including the 1800s, 1900, 1915, 1943, 1961, 1983, and 2008. Below is a list of Texas hurricanes, pre-1900:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Te ... (Pre-1900)
The lighter-colored base around the school appears to have been added as an afterthought, kind of like a pedestal, raising the entire structure another 12 feet to prevent it from being flooded on the main floors in the event of a catastrophic tide surge that comes with a hurricane. In 1961, Carla was a Category 5...the water didn't quite reach the top of that bottom section, but the wind blew more than half of the building down.
Neither the church or the shcool were air-conditioned when I went there. The school had piped-in hot water to those accordian-looking radiator-type deals, and we used fans and kept the windows open during the hot months. The church got air conditioning some time in the early 60s as I recall...
Here are pictures of the church and school, and the link to Mr. Clayton's Wikipedia page. His daughter, Mary Clayton, took all of our school pictures all the way through my high school graduation in 1967.
With my family living in the Historical District in Galveston, these were some of the buildings that I was in from the time I was born until the time I started high school. More later.
I found a picture of St. Mary's School taken the day after Hurricane Carla passed through Galveston in September 1961...