Old Point Comfort College
Fort Monroe, Virginia
Deadfred.com has digitized the 1910 Orderly, the Old Point Comfort College yearbook, and has placed it on the website, to assist persons seeking photos of ancestors. The Hampton Public Library provided a history of the school.
Old Point Comfort College was a boarding school for young men operated by the Xaverian Brothers. Begun in February of 1898, it grew slowly because there were few Catholic families in the area. The Orderly of 1910 shows a total student body of 121, taught by a faculty of eight.
Old Point Comfort had four divisions—grammar, preparatory, commercial business and a Bachelor of Arts college program. After 1905 it was also a military school, but this was dropped in 1916 when parents began complaining about the cost of uniforms. Theoretically boys had to be 12 years old to attend, but at the second graduation in 1899, one of the speakers—the youngest student—was only eleven.
In 1923 the Brothers found it necessary to remove the Sacred Heart Novices from Mt. St. Joseph’s in Maryland and locate them at Old Point Comfort; thereafter, the school served only to train the novices. At the time the college was deeply in debt.
Bricks and Mortar
In 1897 the Brothers purchased 36 acres, including a summer house, from General Reynolds near Buckroe, VA. That summer house, named Kingsway, served as the first home for the college. Since Old Point Comfort was both a summer and winter resort area, it was an ideal spot for a college.
The Main Building was a two-story wood structure with a basement and a brick foundation. The basement served as a kitchen and dining area; classrooms were on the first floor, with the chapel and dormitory on the second floor. The building was dedicated in 1898. When the number of boarders passed 60, a three-story structure was added to give more dormitory space.
The Sacred Hear Noviate occupied the campus from 1923 until 1959. At that point the property was transferred to the Redemptorist Fathers of Virginia, a non-teaching Catholic order. The original buildings were razed in 1961. On part of the property, the Redemptorists erected the Holy Family Retreat House, a retreat and meditation center for Catholics over age 16. That property has recently been sold to Hampton University.
Main Building (Orderly, courtesy of DeadFred.com).
Colors: “Artillery Red and Navy Blue”
Old Point Comfort College was keen on sports, but their experience with college-level football seems to be limited. College Football Data Warehouse shows losses to William & Mary, Washington & Lee, and Virginia Military. However, most opponents seem to have been high schools and academies. The write up of the banquet honoring the undefeated 1905 football team says that it was uniquely a student body team; that is, the team did not borrow faculty members, townspeople, or students from other schools to fill the lineup. But the difficulty under which a school of this size labored was indicated in an 1908 announcement that the school was seeking opponents for a team of 135 pound (or less) players.
The 1910 Orderly shows football (opper right), baseball, track and tennis teams. Apparently OPCC had a two-lane bowling alley according to a photo in the Wisconsin Historical Society website.
A major event was the Annual Field Day, an interschool set of competitions. While several of the events were track and field, others were water sports.
Old Point Comfort College baseball team. Note the pennant. (Orderly, Courtesy of DeadFred.com)