The Old School – St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

The St. John the Baptist School has stood as an iconic structure in the historic downtown area and a landmark in the city of Jordan Minnesota.  It is difficult to fathom just how many students have come and gone, and how many memories have been made behind it's doors (some of mine included). 

It started in 1860’s when the Pioneers who settled this area opened a Catholic School.  When the church build the stone structure church in 1868 (that still stands today and can be seen in some of the photos below) the old church structure was converted to a school.  Then, in 1877 a new school was built.  It was a two-story, 30’ x 50’ one-room-classroom brick building with living space fin the lower level for the teacher and family.    

That school must have thrived.  The single classroom was split into two, and at some point the two classrooms were no longer sufficient because the church began construction on a new (and much larger) school.  The cornerstone of the new school (seen in the photos below) was laid in place June 24 and the school was blessed and opened for students November 26, 1908.  The school remained in operation until February 14, 2004 when St. John the Baptist opened their new Education Center.  So, in 2004, everything was moved over to the new Education Center and the old school was closed up. 

Since 2004, the old school has been used for some storage for the church and the school.  Originally, the church and school maintained the building with minimum heating (to keep piles from bursting) and insurance.  The costs exceeded 23 thousand dollars a year. 

Between 2004 and 2007 many options were sought to repurpose the building.  Considerations of a charter school (1.7 million dollars), condominiums (3 million dollars), and tearing it down (150 thousand dollars) were among some of the possibilities.  Ultimately no one decided to invest in the old school.

In 2007 a cost cutting committee formed to look at the church’s options with the old school building.  By this time, the cost to rehab the building to make it habitable had risen to a minimum of 4 million dollars.  With the costs rising and the possibility that anyone would want to purchase the property to rehab the structure, the decision was made to remove all plumbing from the building, stop heating the structure, and drop the insurance to the bare minimum.  This was still costing over one thousand dollars a year.

One last attempt to save the structure happened in 2017.  Church trustees along with staff from the City of Jordan met with several property developers at the feasibly of converting the structure to senior citizen apartments.  All agreed that that cost for rehabbing the building would make the rent that would have be charged too high.  Affordable rent could not support the cost to remodel the building.

Then, when a fire broke out inside the building in the early hours of November 14, 2017, the necessity of church's need to finally do something with the building became evident.       

I learned a few days ago that it was scheduled to be brought down.  The asbestos in the building is being abated, and demotion is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 6th 2018.  I took an opportunity to take some last photos of the historic old building that has been such a big part of my (and so many other’s) families.


Good friend and fellow Blogger “Just Getting Warmed Up” wrote up an AMAZING reflection on the experience of actually having attended the school.  It’s very nostalgic.  Please, be sure to check out his work HERE



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St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MNSt. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN  St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN

St. John the Baptist Jordan, MN


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