The History of Waterloo Sts. Peter & Paul High School
Waterloo (population 7,614) is located in southwestern Illinois in the north-central portion of Monroe
County. Illinois Route 3 and Illinois Route 156 intersect in the heart of town. Kopp Creek flows through the northeast
side of town while Fountain Creek flows through the southwest side. Waterloo sits about 20 miles south of East
St. Louis and 10 miles east of the Mississippi River.
The town's official website has a history page that can be viewed at http://www.waterloo.il.us/JumpMenu/. Waterloo is the county seat of Monroe County. Formed from two towns in the early 1800s named Bellfontaine
and Peterstown, Waterloo was given credit as being established in 1818. Waterloo was first incorporated in
1849 and later as a city in 1888. It has a rich and storied history.
Waterloo Saints Peter and Paul high school traces its roots to 1946 when the Sts. Peter and Paul parish
began freshman and sophomore classes (http://www.gibaultonline.com/history_gibault.html). The school celebrated its first graduating class in 1948.
Our good friend Michael M. provided the following bit of historical information on Sts.
Peter and Paul High School:
"SS. Peter and Paul H.S. had always been an officially recognized Catholic school from the start,
but it was sponsored by SS. Peter and Paul Parish and so, like a typical parish grade school, it was a parish (or
parochial) high school. In 1962, the Belleville Diocese realized that a Catholic high school was needed not only for
SS. Peter and Paul Parish, but for the neighboring communities as well. So the diocese took over the operation
of the high school, relieving the parish of the burden of financing and administering a high school all by itself
and sharing the burden with the other surrounding Catholic parishses. The school changed form being a parish-sponsored
high school to a diocesan-sponsored high school at that time. That is why when the new school (Gibault) was built sometime
later, it became natural to change the school's name. Other parishes (like Immaculate Conception in Columbia, for example) would
feel more connected to the school if it had a name to which everyone could relate instead of continuing to be named after
only one of several parishes that now had to support it."
The need for a more modern and effecient school was recognized as well as the need for a Catholic high school that
would include participation of all of the surrounding community parishes. Thus the idea of establishing
Gibault High School came about. Gibault was built and activated in 1967, leading to the closing of Sts. Peter &
Paul High School.
The fate of the original Sts. Peter & Paul School is being sought.
Waterloo Sts. Peter & Paul High School Quick Facts
Year closed: 1967
Gibault High School (Waterloo)
Sts. Peter & Paul HS team nickname: the "Hawks"
Sts. Peter & Paul HS team colors: unavailable
School Fight Song: unavailable