St. Patrick’s College/Aquinas College High School
Gone for more than a half century, Aquinas College High School still maintains a website. Members maintain, "So long as we are, Aquinas will be!" The website includes a school history by Anthony J. Lisska (class of ’58). A number of issues of the Aquinian, the school yearbook, are available through the Columbus Public Library. The Golden Jubilee 1956 Aquinian, also has a school history.
St. Patrick’s College was the third attempt by the Dominican Province of St. Joseph to create a secular college for young men. It opened in the fall of 1905 for 62 boys with three Dominican professors. The 1929 Aquinian shows that the initial focus was on a classical education. The faculty was heavily oriented toward languages, sciences and mathematics. The 1942 Aquinian shows an added emphasis on commercial and industrial education.
In 1911 the school was chartered by the State of Ohio to award college degrees and underwent a name change to Aquinas College. However Aquinas College remained a secondary school, taking the name Aquinas College High School; the Dominican Friars established a four-year college in Providence, Rhode Island in 1918.
Student activities tended heavily toward speech, drama, and music. In 1908 The Zanesville Times Recorder notes that 26 students from St. Patrick’s had performed “The Upstart,” a French farce at Zanesville. The players had been supported by a ten-member school orchestra. The 1929 yearbook shows a debating society and a school oratorical contest. A college chorus performed at a Benefit Card Party sponsored by the Mothers’ Club. Later yearbooks show a wider variety of clubs and organizations to satisfy student interests.
Initially St. Patrick’s was a day school serving a neighborhood populated by Irish immigrants, but soon began to attract students from outside the area, From 1912 to 1934 it provided boarding facilities along with the Eutrapelian Society to provide their social needs.
Professor Lisska points out that during its existence the school educated more than 6,000 boys, many of whom went on to become community leaders of distinction. But by the 1960’s support for the school had fallen off; it was closed after the August graduation in 1965.
The 1925 building, now called Aquinas Hall. Image from the 1965 Aquinian, courtesy of the Columbus Public Library.
Bricks and Mortar
Meaney Building, a two-story brick-over-stone structure, was opened on February 6, 1906. The first floor contained six classrooms; a large auditorium filled the second. The basement later held an industrial arts shop. The second floor became the scene of many of the school dances in later years.
Created for a student body of 150, Meaney Building was soon outgrown. In 1912 the school added an annex providing six more classrooms and science labs. When enrollment tripled in 1925, Aquinas built a new building, an English Gothic structure with 13 classrooms, a library, a physics lab and a large gymnasium.
The campus was purchased by Columbus Technical Institute in 1965. Today the 1925 building, called Aquinas Hall, is the testing and advising center for Columbus State Community College.
Team Name: Green and Gold, Dragons, Irish Terriers (after 1931)
School Colors: Green and Gold
It is hardly surprising that an all-boys school located in a working class neighborhood would produce strong athletic teams. The 1922 football team posted an 8-0 record, and two other teams won city championships. The 1944-45 basketball team was city champion, and the 1952 team played in the state tournament. The 1928 baseball team won a state championship. The school golf team won state championships from1953 to 1955. The Aquinas College swim team won five consecutive greater Columbus championships 1943-1947.
St. Patrick’s began playing football in fall 1906. At that time the school had neither a coach nor uniforms. Newspapers show a 12-0 win over South High School and a 12-0 loss to Plain City High School. St. Patrick’s College lost three games to St. Mary’s Institute of Dayton—now Dayton University--in 1909-11.
St. Patrick’s/Aquinas became a member of the Columbus High School Conference in all sports with regular games against North, South, East, West and Central High Schools.
The first football team from St. Patrick's College. Note the motley uniforms. Image from the 1965 Aquinan, courtesy of the Columbus Public Library.
Red Sox shortstop "Chappie" Geygan was a 1923 graduate of Aquinas College High School. Image courtesy of T. Scott Brandon.