Chronology of Marist College: 1858-1969
The Novices move into the Bech homestead, renamed “The Novitiate,” on 25 September 1908.
The dry stone wall along Route 9 on both properties is rebuilt by hired workers because of its poor condition. Part of the MacPherson Estate wall still stands, extended in 1999 with the building of the new Fontaine Hall.
A bigger (90'x16') chicken coop is built just south of Central. The smaller coop is moved to the southeast of the new one, to the site later occupied by Adrian Hall. Part of the new coop later becomes the carpentry shop, but is reconverted to a chicken coop in 1943. It is removed in 1944[?]
A silo is built near the stables at the NW corner of the Juniorate playground. It measures 20'x10'. Another 10' are added in 1917.
St. Francis Hospital , incorporated 17 December 1913, accepts its first patient on 17 February 1914. It is run by the Franciscan Sisters founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1855 by St. John Neumann in 1855. From the start the Sisters and the Brothers collaborate closely. The Brothers grow vegetables for them, and they go door-to-door to solicit funds for the hospital's expansion in the early 20's. Later, Marist faculty serve as instructors at the School of Nursing, both faculty and student Brothers become a “living blood bank” for the hospital, and Marist Press under Bro. Tarcisius prints much of their printing. In return, the Sisters, for close to a century gave the Brothers the best hospital care possible.
A second vegetable caveau [cellar] is created by blasting in a rocky mound near the Juniorate barn. A first one already existed on the Bech property in 1908 in the hill north of Greystone.
Outside workers wire St. Ann 's Hermitage for electricity. The first current flows on November 5. New fire escapes are added. From 1905 to its demolition in 1958 the old wooden MacPherson mansion was a firetrap.
In the Fall the water conduits from the Juniorate to Central are replaced, about 2000 feet. The labor is provided by the Juniors, Novices & Scholastics.
1917: Centenary of the Founding of the Marist Brothers, 2 January. (cf. attached poem by Bro. Dacianus)
14 June, centenary of St. Peter's Church in Poughkeepsie.
28 October the statue of the Immaculate Conception [Our Lady of Lourdes] is blessed and placed in the Juniorate grotto. This grotto will be removed in 1976[?].
The Juniors take Regents Exams, supervised by St. Ann 's Academy, NY, with which the Juniorate is now affiliated with permission of the Regents in Albany. From 1911 until 1919 exams were taken with the students of St. Peter's in the city.
First automobile garage is built [near the barn on the NW corner of the Juniorate property?].
Calvary group is built near the Novitiate: Christ on the Cross, Our Blessed Mother, St. John , and St. Mary Magdalen. It is a gift of Mrs. Dowd in memory of her son killed in France on 7 September 1918. It is seriously damaged by the 1938 hurricane. It is restored in 1941[?] with a gift from the Marcelynas family, relatives of a Postulant[?]. This restored Calvary is vandalized in the late 60's and the stairs and altar are finally removed in 2001.
In August, the Brothers pay $28,000 for the 200-acre Wanalancet Farm with its colonial mansion in Tyngsboro, MA , as a bi-lingual Juniorate for French-speaking students from New England . These students join the Juniors in Poughkeepsie for the Postulancy and Novitiate. The first students from Tyngsboro come to Poughkeepsie on 29 June 1925. After serving as a Juniorate from 1924-1949, Tyngsboro serves as the Novitiate from August 1949-August 1968, and thus the Postulants and Novices there take Marist College-accredited courses.
That year he goes to Germany to buy a considerable amount of equipment for physics, chemistry, and biology. [cf. attached biography]
Outdoor Stations of the Cross are erected near the Novitiate Calvary and grotto. They are removed in 1962 to make room for the road to Sheahan Hall. Some Station pedestals are still visible.
A 6-foot-high concrete block wall on the Novitiate property along Route 9 is begun. It is finished in 1923. Two rows of cedars are planted. The wall is removed in 1966 at the suggestion of Mr. John Dougherty, then Director of Development, for greater neighborliness. Some footings are still visible. One row of cedars is cut down with the widening of Route 9 in 1975[?]
Drainage from the Knauss Brothers' slaughter house contaminates our water supply. Our law firm, Coudert Brothers, has to intervene to make them correct the situation.
Ca. 1922, the ice house is removed. [It stood near the dam generating electricity?]
It is decided that the Juniors must have completed Second Year of high school to be admitted to the Novitiate. In 1928 this is raised to completion of Third Year.
On May 1, Mr. Seymour from the Regents in Albany inspects our high school classes. He is very pleased, and on June 6 Albany notifies us that our high school has been permanently accredited as a Senior High School.
Fordham University authorizes us to give summer courses at St. Ann's Hermitage. These include Algebra, Physics, and History of Modern Times. These are the first college-accredited courses given on campus.
On June 29 the first Juniors from Tyngsboro, 9 of them, enter the Postulancy in Poughkeepsie.
A cellar and 2-story wooden addition are built on the east side of St. Peter's, and a small room on the west side. [This room will later be called “ Alaska ” because it is unheated?] These additions are demolished in 1969.
The Dutton Lumber Company buys 150x100 feet of our river front for $10,000. It will buy more in 1929.
Marist Training School is opened under Fordham auspices. In 1929 it is provisionally accredited by the Regents in Albany as an independent 2-year college and is permanently accredited on 9 April 1930. It offers 72 credits toward a Bachelor of Science in Education awarded by Fordham University.
Prof. Bennett from New Paltz Teachers College comes once a week to teach literature to the Scholastics. Rev. Bruce McLean, O.M.I., from the Oblate Juniorate in Newburgh teaches them Philosophy.
Major renovations are started to Greystone for laboratories and a library. A third story is added for more dorm space, together with windows and the tower and stairs. The wooden floors are replaced by concrete floors supported by steel beams. Bro. Paul Acyndinus does the electrical wiring. Cost of the construction: $30,000. Cost of the furnishings: $10,000. The increased area necessitates a new boiler room addition to the west side of “Pullman/Marian” to heat both buildings. The steam laundry in the basement is moved to Marian. In 1947 it is moved to the west side of the Old Gym. It will cease operations in 1983 when the Old Gym is renovated to become Marian Hall, a student residence.
On 28 November 1958 Dr. Foy becomes President to replace Brother Paul who has been named Assistant in Rome. Dr. Foy resigns in 1979.
The Dutton Lumber Company buys another 600 feet of our river front for $50,000.
On 27 July 1929 the Brothers sell land to Dutchess County along Delafield Street for $6500 for building a highway.
On April 4 Dr. Heisler from the Regents in Albany visits to be sure the studies in the Scholasticate do correspond to the first two years of college. On April 9 final certification by the Regents in Albany of the Scholasticate as a Junior College under the name of “Marist Training School.” These graduates are “approved for admission to the School of Education at Fordham University.”
The Scholasticate playground, today's Champagnat quad, is graded. Cinders are donated by Central Hudson and by the HRSH where a Mr. McGee was superintendent.
The Brothers buy about 5 acres of land in Washington, DC . There is the persistent thought among some that the Scholasticate be transferred or another one added near the Catholic University. (Cf. Annals, p.199) This land will be sold in 1964[?]
A stonecrusher is bought to make material for paving the roads on campus.
On June 5 Mr. John P. Murray dies. He acted as “straw man” for the purchase of the Bech estate.
On September 27 Bro. Césidius dies. He is the founder of the Marist Brothers in North America . (cf. attached biography)
A 212-feet-deep well is dug in June and, together with the existing system, it supplies all the water needed, even for the gardens and flowers.
On July 10 a tornado knocks down about 150 big trees. The Novitiate handball court is rebuilt.
The Novitiate building is completely covered with artificial brick shingles, improving both appearance and insulation.
The waterwheel basin is cleared of some 75 loads of sediment. Later that year the waterwheel breaks and is repaired by the Fitzwheel people. It breaks again in 1942, and the Brothers repair it.
The island in the Juniorate lake is removed, with tons of sludge from the lake bed, to transform the lake into a swimming pool. The soil is used to level the ground at the north end of the Scholasticate [along the Waterworks Road, north and west of today's chapel?].
A terrible hurricane devastates New England and knocks down some 30 trees on the property. One of them heavily damages the Calvary group. [A new group is donated in 1941 [?] by the Marcelynas family, relatives of a Postulant]. The hurricane drops 9 inches of rain in 24 hours. The Novitiate is without electricity for three days, and railroad transportation is disrupted for two weeks.
Two more fire escapes are added to St. Ann 's Hermitage.
The Scholasticate handball court destroyed in the 1938 hurricane is rebuilt.
A card party in NYC nets $302 for the Scholasticate.
The Marist Brothers buy the 16-acre Ambassador Johnson estate from the Servite Fathers. The property straddles Washington , DC , and Hyattsville , MD. However, it is used only as a residence for Brothers doing Graduate Studies. The Brothers sell the property in December 1963.
Bro. Ptolemeus dies 13 June 1940. Legendary math and science teacher. (cf. attached biography)
Fire escapes are added to St. Peter's and the Novitiate.
The Scholastics reap corn given by the Jesuits. The Brothers buy 3500 lbs. of grapes from LaFalce's across the Hudson to make wine and cordials.
A new jack and set of drills are bought to begin work on the foundations of a new Provincial House on campus. However, these new headquarters of the Poughkeepsie Province will never be built, possibly because of wartime constrictions. The Provincial House is moved to Esopus in 1952.
On December 5 there is a fire in the carpentry shop. The shop will be reconverted into a chicken coop in 1943. This coop is removed in 1944[?], leaving only the coop on the Juniorate property.
In April, the orchard and vineyard west of St. Ann 's Hermitage are removed to extend the Juniorate playground beyond the handball courts. The enlarged yard will allow for three baseball diamonds. Rocks from the WPA project near the boathouses on the river front are used to raise the level of the former vineyard at the rate of 28 loads daily. In May, a raffle for the Juniorate playground improvements nets over $1,000.
Central Hudson and HRSH donate loads of cinders to level the Juniorate and Scholasticate playgrounds. The Lowell Thomas parking lot, Kirk House, and the Old Townhouses now occupy the site of the Juniorate playground. The Scholasticate playground was a parking lot from 1947 to [1980?], then it became the Champagnat quad.
In July, hay-making at Staatsburg and HRSH ( Hudson River State Hospital ).
In August a new vegetable caveau is built, probably replacing the old one near the barn now destroyed by the Juniorate playground work.
In September the Brothers pick grapes at LaFalce's and Erickson's.
In September the cement floor is poured for St. Mary's dormitory (60'x30') just southwest of the Novitiate, replacing the former Novitiate tool shed. The present site is the end of the Sheahan parking lot approach road, before turning into the McCann parking lot. In Fall 1960 the Marist crew team practices there on a fixed track laid for them. In Spring 1961 St. Mary's will house the first resident students on campus, coming from the King's Court Motel on Cannon Street in Poughkeepsie. Lay students all move after the opening of Champagnat Hall in Fall 1965, and St. Mary's will be occupied by a group of Canadian Brothers of St. Gabriel for 2-3 years. It will be demolished in 1970.
The new Bee House and cannery nearby are built in November 1943. Its curved roof beams come from the roller coaster on Ponty's Woodcliff Park where the Gartland Commons now stand. This bee house was demolished in [1967?].
In December the Provincial Council visits a site in New Jersey for a prospective school or training center. The property is not satisfactory.
On December 24 a Christmas gift of $100 is given a Dr. Leonidoff. He is not mentioned at Christmas 1942 or 1943. A Dr. Aleksei A. Leonidoff gives Marist College $25,000 to develop a football and soccer field; it is dedicated on 19 October 1968. This is the first substantial financial gift to Marist College from a lay person. Dr. Leonidoff also gives Marist College a house on South Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie, to be used as a Russian Studies Center. This proves impractical and the house is sold and the money given to the Modern Languages Department.
In February, June and July the Postulants and Scholastics harvest 37 tons of hay from Schmidt's Farm on Salt Point Road, from Millbrook, from Shreve's, from Cookingham's, and from the Jesuits. In September, so much corn is reaped on campus that some must be left standing.
In March a public telephone system is installed, replacing the intercom campus one put in in 1911.
On 26 February the General Council in Europe approves the purchase of the Raymond C. Riordon property, “with school and buildings located about 12 km from Poughkeepsie,” but on March 18 Bishop McIntyre of NYC rejects our request, and Msgr. Sheehan in the Chancery suggests alternatives. On May 20 members of the Provincial Council visit two other properties, the Jacob Ruppert [now Linwood] in Rhinecliff, NY, and the Payne Estate in Esopus, NY. On June 26 Archbishop Spellman approves the purchase of the Payne Estate east of Route 9W. We decline to purchase the acreage west of the highway. [The Chancery thus prevents us from making a tragic mistake. The beautiful log-cabin buildings of the Riordon School west of Chodikee Lake inland north from Route 199 on the way to New Paltz have since deteriorated, and the property is today a somewhat dilapidated and unappealing Jewish camp on the west shore of Lake Chodikee.] Four Brothers occupy the Esopus mansion on July 10. Renovations begin on July 14. The deed is signed on August 2, Juniors are accepted later that month, and the old Juniorate in St. Ann 's Hermitage is closed. The new Juniorate is called Marist Preparatory. The Prep is blessed on October 25 by Right Rev. Charles D. Wood, Protonotary Apostolic from Middletown and Msgr. Martin J. Drury, P.R., from Kingston. The Prep closes as a Juniorate in August 1963 and moves to Marist Hall in Cold Spring until June 1969. In Fall 1959 Esopus becomes also the Novitiate until August 1969 and as such offers Marist College-accredited courses. In 1969 the Novitiate and Scholasticate stages of formation are transferred to after college age.
On May 4 the Scholastics sing for Mrs. Rohan's funeral. They had often picked apples for her, in exchange for “seconds.”
Fr. Joseph Kirchmeyer, SJ, teaches Religion to the Scholastics.
On 29 November 1942 the Scholastics sing on the Catholic Hour, broadcast out of the Nelson House in Poughkeepsie. From the earliest years the choir was much in demand. It sang often at St. Peter's, HRSH, St. Francis Hospital, St. Mary's in Wappingers Falls, in Middletown. The midnight Christmas Mass on campus was always packed, and eventually tickets had to be issued to control the demand.
In November the waterwheel breaks again and this time the Brothers repair it.
In June also the carpentry shop is reconverted into a chicken coop.
In August Bro. Paul Ambrose Fontaine is named Master of Scholastics, becoming thereby unofficial Dean of the Marist Training School. The Provincial Council gives him the mandate to transform the 2-year college into a 4-year college.
The Student Brothers become for many years the “blood bank” for St. Francis Hospital.
In September the Scholastics pick apples in Wappingers Falls . Obviously these able-bodied, hard-working, and honest Brothers were much in demand for hay-making, apple-picking, and grape-harvesting before the era of illegal immigrants.
On 5 November 1943 St. Peter's Parish in Poughkeepsie acquires approximately 9 acres of land east of Delafield Street from the Poughkeepsie Savings Bank “for general public and community purposes.” On 27 June 1960 St. Peter's sells this land, known as Shamrock Field, to Marist College for $1. In 1967, at the urging of Dr. Daniel Kirk founder of the B.A. and M.A. in Psychology, Marist donates 5 acres of this land on the upper mesa to the county for a Mental Health Center . The land on the lower mesa will become the MDS Labs.
On February 1, Dr. Roy J. DeFerrari, Secretary General of the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC , visits. He reports on February 24 that the Marist Training School has been officially affiliated to C.U. and makes many very useful suggestions for improving the courses of study.
On June 30 9-year-old Thomas Secor from St. Peter's parish drowns in our pool. From the beginning, keeping unsupervised local people out of the pool was a serious problem.
In July, a bumper bean crop (some 200 bushels) is picked in the bean patch on and near the Chapel hill.
In August, Bro. Leo retires to Esopus. He dies in 1962. A committed educator, a visionary leader, founder of the 2-year Marist Training School, forerunner of Marist College. Leo Hall is named after him in 1963.
In September the Postulants and Scholastics pick over 1200 bushels of apples in Charles Beck's orchard on Manchester Road. The working Brothers [assigned to manual labor rather than to teaching or administration] pick 2 tons of grapes in one afternoon.
Bro. Francis Xavier Benoit raises the roof of the “ Pullman ” to accommodate classrooms.
On September 9 there are 31 Scholastics: 4 in Third Year, 15 in Second Year, and 12 in First year. They are the first students to start the new 4-year B.A. program. The Brothers who graduate do so in 3 years and 3 summers.
On September 20, the Regents in Albany provisionally charter Marian College as a 4-year institution for the training of Student Brothers. This date is now known as “Founder's Day.” The name “Marian” is picked by Bro. Paul as a combination of the Brothers' two main patrons, the Blessed Virgin Mary and her mother St. Ann .
Bro. Paul invites John J. Gartland, Esq., as advisor. He will serve three Presidents. He becomes a member of the new Board of Trustees in 1969 and serves many years as Chairman. He is affiliated [honorary member] to the Marist Brothers in 1973. Marist College awards him a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa in 1980. He retires in Spring 2000 and is elected Life Trustee. As Chairman of the McCann Foundation from 1969-2000, he is deeply involved in the development of the physical facilities of Marist College and in establishing the McCann Scholars program for needy Mid-Hudson high school and college students. He dies on 24 August 2003.
Dr. John Schroeder, Ed.D., Quaker, is hired part time to teach English. He comes fulltime in 1949. He is the first fulltime lay professor at Marist. His house in Pleasant Valley suffers a serious fire in November 1946, and the Scholastics and Bro. Paul Ernest clean up the debris and water damage and rebuild the house for him. Dr. Schroeder receives a Doctorate of Humane Letters honoris causa in 1973 and retires in 1975. He dies on 26 March 1996.
The second bungalow, built in 1911, is removed to make room for the new gym.
Four Student Brothers graduate on August 9? This is the first graduating class.
Dr. John Christie from Vassar College is hired as Adjunct Professor to teach American Literature.
Bro. Francis Xavier Benoit directs the building of the Old Gym. Estimated cost: $214,000; but built for $90,000. Besides the gym it houses a classroom in the NE wing, the print shop on the NW wing, the steam laundry on the west, the carpentry and plumbing shops on the SE wing, and garages in the SW wing. The building is heated by the boiler in Marian, which also heats Greystone. This gym is renovated in 1983 as Marian Hall and becomes a student residence.
To raise money Bro. Paul asks Bro. Francis Xavier to write a novel, but he declines.
Dr. Mooney of Albany asks the Trustees to reconsider, in light of the serious need locally.
St. Ann 's Hermitage is turned over to the Scholasticate, and the Provincial House moves to Esopus. It is such a firetrap that Bro. Paul names 2 Scholastics a night to patrol it until they relocate to the old Fontaine Hall in 1957. The Hermitage is burned down on 23 October 1958. The 15-acre Way Estate north of campus is bought in 1996[?] and, at the suggestion of Dean Cox, it is also named St. Ann's Hermitage.
Adrian Hall is built alongside the campus road just west of Donnelly Hall as a Student Lounge. Estimated cost: $75,100; but built for $30,000. In 1967 it will serve as the first Computer Center . The Registrar's Office and Business Office are relocated there as well. It is named Adrian Hall after the death of Bro. Adrian August in 1960 in honor of this former Master of Scholastics and long-standing Professor of Chemistry and Music Master. It will be removed when the Champagnat quad is redesigned and repaved in 2001 [?].
The water tower near the old barn in the NW corner [now approximately Townhouse “C”] of the former Juniorate property is dismantled.
Marian College admits 12 fulltime male lay students. Those who complete the course of study will be the first non-Brother graduates in 1961. The Provincial Council allows the College to add lay Trustees.
On October 23, the old St. Ann's Hermitage is “accidentally” burned to the ground.
Bro. Paul Ambrose Fontaine, President of Marian College, is elected Assistant General in Rome . On November 28, Bro. Linus Richard Foy, doctoral candidate at the Courant Institute at NYU, is appointed to replace him. At age 28, he becomes the youngest college president in the United States . That semester there are 256 students, 62 of whom were laymen.
Dr. Ewall Nyquist of Albany urges Bro. Paul to review the objectives of the college, so as to better serve the growing number of lay students. In 1958 also IBM asks that the college establish an Evening Division for their workers.
The first resident male students are admitted. They are housed in King's Court Motel on Cannon Street in Poughkeepsie in the Fall, then move to St. Mary's in Spring 1960.
In Fall 1960 the south side of Donnelly Hall also becomes a student residence. In Fall 1962 Sheahan Hall is opened, but St. Mary's and Donnelly continue to house students who then live in Sheahan in 1962, Leo in 1963, and Champagnat in 1965. After Spring Semester 1965 resident facilities in Donnelly Hall are eliminated.
The Brothers purchase a property in Cold Spring NY . “Marist Hall” is used as a Juniorate from 1960 to 1968. In Summer 1968 the Juniorate is closed and the Novitiate is moved from Tyngsboro MA to Cold Spring NY . The Novitiate students there take Marist College-accredited courses. This Novitiate is closed in August 1969.
On 25 April 1961 the Brothers transfer the Sheahan Hall lot to the Marist College Educational Corporation to facilitate obtaining an HHFA mortgage.
Sheahan Hall is built. It is named after Msgr. Sheahan, civic leader and longtime pastor of St. Peter's Parish [now Mount Carmel] in Poughkeepsie .
The old Juniorate barn is torn down.
Marist buys 3.23 acres from New York Central for $7000 to increase the McCann Center construction site.
Byrne Residence, the William H. Martin Boathouse, and Leo Hall are built. Byrne is named after Bro. George Francis Byrne, recently deceased Professor of History, and the boathouse after William H. Martin, prominent local Catholic who led the fund-raising for the boathouse and who died 18 October 1963. Leo Hall is named after Bro. Leo, former Provincial who started the 2-year Marist Training School in 1928, accredited in 1929, which becomes a 4-year college in 1946.
The Leo Hall lot is transferred to the Marist College Educational Corporation for mortgage financing purposes.
Middle States accredits Marist College.
The campus sewer lines are connected to the city systems on Route 9.
Women are admitted to the Evening Division. Women commuters are admitted to the Day Division in 1968, and women residents in Sheahan Hall and Leo Hall in 1969.
Leonidoff Field is dedicated. It is named after a distinguished local psychiatrist, Dr. Aleksei A. Leonidoff, our first significant lay benefactor who donated $25,000 for the field.
The Marist Brothers' Novitiate is transferred from Tyngsboro MA to Cold Spring NY.
Marist College-accredited courses continue to be offered in the new Novitiate.
At that time, lay trustees outnumber the Brothers on the Board, and Harold Spencer is named the first layman Chair.
In 1973 Marist College will start to reimburse the Brothers $25,000 a year for forty years for a total of $1,000,000 for their Retirement Fund.
Because of the Blaine Amendment on the separation of Church and State, Marist College is refused Bundy money, passed in 1968 and funded in 1969. Marist will again be turned down in January 1970, but approved in 1971.
The east and west wooden additions to St. Peter's are demolished. The “Pullman/Marian” building is also demolished. [?]
On 15 June 1969 the Marist Brothers purchase the house at 2 Eden Terrace as a residence for faculty Brothers. It is rented to Dr. & Mrs. Anthony Cernera, Vice-President for College Advancement, in 1982 and sold to them in 1984. The Cerneras sell it to Marist College in 1988 when Dr. Cernera is named President of Sacred Heart University, Bridgeport , CT.
The Marist Brothers officially end the Scholasticate Formation stage. Candidates to the Brotherhood will now be admitted only after post-college age. The Novitiate will follow college and at least two years of candidacy spent in apostolic work. The last Student Brothers on campus are BB. Eugene Birmingham, Daniel Cronin, and Gerard Geoffroy, from the Profession Group of 1968. The first two graduate in 1971, and Geoffroy in 1972.
The Annals of St. Ann's Hermitage, 1904-1944.
Various articles, notes, and memories by Gerard A. Cox, Brian Desilets, Richard Foy, Fred A. Lambert, Adrian N. Perreault, BB. Nilus Donnelly, Cornelius J. Russell, Richard Rancourt, and Leonard Voegtle.
Major sources not consulted: Provincial Council minutes, Trustees minutes, Institutional Self-Study for Middle States Accreditation in 1963.
After 1969 Marist College affairs are readily ascertained in official College papers in College Archives.
* Please send all corrections to: Joseph.Belanger@Marist.edu
last updated on November 3, 2005