St. John Parish began in 1836 when 14 Catholic families joined to build a log church on what is now Francis Street.
St. John’s was a mission church until 1855 when Fr. B.C. Koopmans became its first pastor but not a resident of the parish.
Opening day for the first school was September 15, 1873. Four sisters enrolled 200 students that day.
A high school was established in 1888. The first graduation class, 1892, consisted of three girls.
In 1901, the cornerstone for a new school was laid and on January 19, 1903 the new school was opened.
In the mid-twenties, tuition for the grade school was $1.00 per month. The high school tuition was $25.00 per year. The average income in those years was $2,196.00 and gas was ¢11 per gallon.
Uniforms, at least for the high school, were adopted in 1929. To quote: “It improves punctuality at school, concentration in class work and better social relationship.” Each class was distinguished by different colored collars: freshmen - pea green, sophomores - royal blue, juniors - cerise and seniors - sand.
In 1954, ground was broken for the “new” high school on Cooper Street. The school opened in 1955.
In 1959, fifteen additional classrooms were added to the high school. These rooms are the present day St. John Elementary School.