Thursday, July 9, 2009

Saint Boniface RC Church in Philadelphia,PA

It was through an e mail with Ted, (a relation of my cousin Gerry) who is a fellow genealogist, that I got started on the subject of pre Depression era schooling ( which may be for a future post). Ted asked a question which I'm putting here in case someone out there knows :

" Did Kindergarten exist in the Pre-Depression era public schools ?"

( A First cousin of mine was have said to have attended Saint Boniface school from Kindergarten to 2nd grade).And Ted was questioning if it was possible to have Kindergarten classes back then.

And this Genealogy sleuth who is Ted is now sniffing this out... * See end of post for a recent development.

I do not know very much about the issue. But, it got me thinking about and researching again about the school's mother church, Saint Boniface . So many members of my family have worshiped and celebrated their lives here.

For those of you who are not acquainted with this church,in the Northeast suburbs on Philadelphia. Alas, since 2006, the church and it's school are officially closed.I had been tipped off to this about a year ago by a local resident, but I had not researched this further at the time.

Here's a map of the area :

Go see the google street view of the church, use this :On type in 174 Diamond street, Philadelphia PA. You will have to use the "up & down" buttons to see the church in the images. It's across the square; you can't miss it.

I also found a very informative website that is all about Philadelphia's Catholic churches,their history and architecture. Here's a page on their website for Saint Boniface :

I like the idea behind this website, which is in the process of cataloging all of Philadelphia's religious archtecture ( Catholic churches) and to highlight the uniqueness of each of these churches. Which is a joy for a lot of different people; clergy and parishioners,architectural buffs,nostalgics, and yes, the Genealogist.

The Philadelphia church project site also has a blog. And I had the pleasant suprise to find a very recent post written about Saint Boniface. Please take a peek and click on the link:

For our Genealogy work, the spiritual records are kept at Visitation BVM Church, according to the page for Saint Boniface on the Philadelphia Archdiocese's website :

I really don't know how that works for record search here; I have always gone through city hall records for my Genealogy records.

Personally,I'm feeling fortunate to have been able to visit Saint Boniface in 1992.Sadly, I can no longer renew this experience.

Though,I'm hoping to dig out our old slides and get those pictures developed on paper one of these days.And I hope, here on this blog.It was truly gorgeous inside.

I'm sorry to say that it's all a part of the past now.

This post is in memory of you Saint Boniface, our Carroll family's church.

* P.S. A recent e mail by cousin Gerry may have solved our question about Kindergarten in the pre-depression era. Gerry writes :

There was no mention of kindergarten by my father, so I am assuming Ed did not go either. I don't think Catholic schools and probably not public schools had kindergarten then. We (JP & I ) -my note : Gerry's brother & her- never went to was not offered at the Catholic schools and even some of my friends who went to public school did not go to kindergarten. I think it may have been offered at the public schools, but it was an optional thing back then. It was mostly play time for 1/2 a day.

Thanks so much Gerry !


Terry C, An American Again! said...

I went to Saint Gabriel's School in South Philly from 1958-66. Did not go to kindergarten. The only one of us (and there were 6) who attended kindergaren was my youngest brother who was born in 1971. Both my kids attended kindergarten at the now-closed Saint Aloysius School. I don't think people thought kindergarten was necessary yeara ago.

Barbara said...

Hi Terry,

Nice to meet you :)
Thank you for commenting on the Kindergarten question. I believe that my relations & I have come also to the same conclusion; there was no Kindergarten before the depression & it was a modern invention.
I did not grow up in Philly but in Hawaii. I went to public school in Pearl Harbor & I have to check the school pictures but I would say no also.

Anonymous said...

My father attended a St. Boniface school but it was on Bonaventure St back then I am told. This would have been around the years of 1919 to about 1925 when he was 7 to 13 years old.

Anonymous said...

I attended St. Boniface kindergarten in 1958. I believe it had been in existence for some time before that, but I don't know how long.

Barbara said...

Hi to the anoymous commenters,

My grandparents were married in St Boniface in 1919. It sopunds like the first commenter's grandfather was maybe a neighbor of mine.
Interesting to hear that the school was around then.
My grandmother lived on Coral street, my grandfather was in the Navy since several years.

I don't know how much of our family went to the parochial school.

Thanks for sharing :)