Today, numerous railroads and highways of interstate, US, state, and local designations bring people
together in the city on a daily basis, as does air traffic at O'Hare and Midway Airports. Chicago is a melting pot of people
from many nationalities, making it ethnically diverse, and thus is referred to as "the financial, economic, and cultural
capital of the Midwest (according to Wikipedia)."
St. Mary of the Lake opened as a mens' college on June 3rd, 1844 and became the first
institution of higher education in Chicago incorporated as a university on December 19th of the same year. The first
bishop of Chicago, William Quarter, was proud of the school and realized it would need more space, and took
a trip to the Eastern United States to raise money for a new facility that would open July 4th, 1846.
Bishop Quarter passed away in April 1848, and was succeeded by Bishop James Van de Velde,
who also took an interest in the high standards that were already in place. But Van de Velde found himself in locked in a
difference of opinion of how the school should be run with priests from Holy Name Parish (who were connected
to it). The parish priests were threatened with removal from the school, to be replaced by the Congregation of the Holy
Cross, which declined a subsequent offer.
Van de Velde's health was also failing, and was replaced by Anthony O'Regan in 1853. Bishop
O'Regan oversaw the changing of the religious orders in 1856 when the Holy Cross accepted an offer to take over
the school with an annual rent of $2,100.00. The new order requested that the school's curriculum be changed from that of
a university (which it was chartered as in 1844) and become an all-boys' high school, which the new bishop agreed to. When
the school opened in September 1856, 35 students were enrolled. That number would grow to 120 within three years.
As the school's numbers were going up, Anthony Duggan replaced O'Regan as the bishop in 1859.
Just like Van de Velde, Duggan was in the middle of a firestorm with the head of the Holy Cross congregation, who wanted more
money to build an addition to the school plus make some improvements. The Holy Cross fathers left Chicago in 1861, but the
school stayed open. A new dormitory was erected in 1863, as sons of German immigrants were recruited for the school.
Despite the efforts, the school closed in 1866 due to financial distress. However, the school reopened in
1921 under the original 1844 charter as George Cardinal Mundelein requested having a seminary for future
Archdiocese priests. Today, the school is known as St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, to show its two-fold
purpose to educate and train young men for the priesthood.