Filed Under Education

Saint Ignatius High School

Cleveland's Catholic schoolchildren began attending parochial schools in their neighborhoods during the 1850s, opting to avoid the public school system which many saw as being anti-Catholic. These first Catholic schools were merely grammar schools, however, and did not offer advanced education. Cleveland's Catholic population continued to grow in the last quarter of the 19th-century with an influx of Catholic immigrants from southern and eastern Europe joining the Irish and Germans already in town. Recognizing the growing need for better and more extensive Catholic education in the city, Bishop Richard Gilmour invited a group of Jesuits priests from Buffalo to start a Catholic college on the city's near west side.

St. Ignatius College opened with 76 students in 1886 in a wood-framed building at West 30th Street and Carroll Avenue. Its five-story brick main building (which remains standing today) did not open until 1890. Initially, St. Ignatius offered a seven year course of study which ended with the granting of a Bachelor of Arts degree. A 1905 book on education in Cleveland explained that a student at the college could expect to take courses on "Christian doctrine, the Latin, Greek, and English languages; rhetoric, poetry, elocution, and English literature; mathematics, physics, and chemistry; history and geography; bookkeeping and penmanship." The seventh year of instruction was dedicated exclusively to the study of philosophy.

In 1902, the high school and college became separate entities, resulting in a more modern arrangement. In 1935 the college, which switched its name to John Carroll University in 1923, moved to its own campus in suburban University Heights. St. Ignatius High School remained in Ohio City and has since expanded outward from its original building, with its campus now clustered along both sides of Lorain Avenue between West 28th and West 32nd Streets. It is known for its excellent academics, championship-winning sports teams, and community service within Ohio City.


Before The Mall: A Dangerous Crossing Andrew Johnson, a teacher and alumnus of St. Ignatius High School, recalls the day he was hit by a car on West 30th Street, which later became the school's mall. Source: CSU Center for Public History + Digital Humanities


St. Ignatius, circa 1890s
St. Ignatius, circa 1890s The brick, five-story structure at 1911 West 30th Street was completed in 1890. The structure still stands on the St. Ignatius High School campus today and is known as the Main Building. The campus itself has grown to over 15 acres as a number of buildings have been added over the years. Source: Cleveland State Library Special Collections Date: ca. 1890s
Learning Greek, 1949
Learning Greek, 1949 Two students practice writing in Greek while their teacher looks on. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Football Team, 1945
Football Team, 1945 The 1945 St. Ignatius High School football team line up for a group photograph. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
Debate Champs, 1964
Debate Champs, 1964 Members of the St. Ignatius High School debate team, winners of the 1964 State Championship, pose with their trophies. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
John Carroll's New Campus, 1935
John Carroll's New Campus, 1935 Students from John Carroll University pose on their new campus in University Heights on its opening day in October 1935. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections
President & Students, 1980
President & Students, 1980 Robert Walsh, the President of St. Ignatius High School, talks with several students on the school's campus in 1980. Image courtesy of Cleveland State Library Special Collections


1911 W 30th St, Cleveland, OH 44113


Mark Pecot, “Saint Ignatius High School,” Cleveland Historical, accessed July 21, 2024,