Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
Welcome to the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!
The City of Maples Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary!

The History of Macon's Immaculate Conception School

From material written in 1974 for the school's 50th Anniversary and the 1987 Macon Chronicle-Herald Centennial Edition

A dream conceived by a Catholic priest in Macon during the early 1900s celebrated its golden anniversary as a reality in 1974. Immaculate Conception School, which got its start in 1924, has been an educational and community influence for 50 years, and although the facilities and personnel have changed over the years, striving for quality Christian education remains the focus of local effort.

The 1987 Macon Chronicle-Herald Centennial Edition gives an account of the priest who worked to make this parochial school possible. In 1912 the Reverend T.J. Barrett came to Macon as a replacement for Father Healy who was appointed to the irremovable rectorship of Edina. At the time of the Centennial Edition, Father Barrett was 'yet remembered by many in Macon who knew him as a warm friend'. It was recorded that Father Barrett strove always to place the Catholic Church of Macon in a position of respect and financial security. The account continues saying that in the face of discouragement, and at times, failure, Father Barrett succeeded in purchasing the building which was at one time the town home of Colonel Blees. In 1920 this building was transformed into the Catholic Church of Macon, the church of the Immaculate Conception.

However, history says, Father Barrett had further plans for his parish that would not let him rest. "Working always in the face of discouragement, he finally realized his ambition of establishing a parochial school in Macon," the edition reads. This first and only Catholic school in Macon County opened in September of 1924 with Father Barrett as principal. Through the efforts of Father Barrett, three Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word came to Macon to staff the school.

The first classes enrolled 42 children from kindergarten to grade nine. Two classrooms were available, so the four lower grades were grouped in one classroom and the four upper grades in another Later as enrollment increased to over 100, grades were limited to one through eight.

In 1929 the Reverend P.B. O'Rourke succeeded Father Barrett. The depression years were a time of hardship, but parishioners, faculty and Father O'Rourke worked together to keep the school in operation through hard work and sacrifice.

Father O'Rourke was succeeded in 1941 by Reverend P.J. Gilfillan who labored to free the parish from debt, to consolidate the parish property and to establish a building fund for future needs. This building fund paved the way for the purchase of the present site, the former Hildreth property, in 1952 which serves as school and convent. In 1955 an additional classroom and other facilities were added on. In 1961 two more classrooms were built. The school, with these additions, had enough classrooms to allow two grades to be taught in each room. The faculty was expanded to four full time teachers in 1962. At the time this article was written, the school employed five full time teachers and had an enrollment of 97 students.

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Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Macon, Missouri at the Macon, MO Sesquicentennial Celebration!