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St. Peter School History

Inspiring students to love God, their Catholic faith and learning.

St. Peter School History

St. Peter Catholic School

Established 1854

Constructed 1886-1890

H.J. Wallau, Contractor

Frank Miller, Architect

Dedicated on April 7, 1890


Part of

Missouri State Capitol Historic District

Officially listed in the 


St. Peter School was established in 1854. A small brick structure was built near the church. The school was housed in the Convent on the corner of Broadway and High street, prior to the brick structure. The school started with 38 students and increased to 120 by the end of that first year.

As the city and congregation grew, a larger church was required. In 1857, a larger church was constructed, followed by an even larger on in 1882, which is still in use today. The old frame church was converted into a school to provide more classroom space. It wasn’t very long, before the parish would outgrow this a well.

The original portion of the present school was erected in 1888-1890. The basement held six meeting rooms and a bowling alley. The first floor contatined six classrooms. The entire second floor was known as St. Peter’s Hall, an auditorium with a large stage. It was the largest assembly hall in the area for many years, making it the site of many historical events in Jeferson City and throughout Missouri,

Jefferson City struggled to remain the State Capitol, for many years. There were many other Central Missouri towns who tried to have the Seat of Government moved to their communities. In February of 1911, the State Capitol building was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

The pastor of St. Peter Parish, Fr. Joseph Selinger, and the Parish Committee, quickly offered the use of the school to the Missouri Legislature, at no charge. The offer was accepted, and St. Peter School became the “Ninth Capitol of Missouri.” The remainder of the 46th General Assembly, the House of Representatives held session in St. Peter’s Hall. Committee meetings were held in classrooms. School classes were temporarily held in private homes. The Missouri Senate held session in the Supreme Court Building. In 1811, William Jennings Bryan, noted American orator and political leaded, addressed the joint Legislative Assembly in St. Peter’s Hall.

St. Peter began a two-year commercial high in 1917, and in 1931, an addition was added on, to the north side of the building. St. Peter High School, opened that year, with a four-year program. Accreditation was through the University of Missouri. Shortly thereafter, the Christian Brothers arrived. This high school served until the founding of Helias Interparish High School in 1955, where it still resides today.

Selinger Centre was constructed in 1937. With a new center providing ample meeting space St. Peter’s Hall was converted into a large library and two classrooms. Later, a computer lab was added.

The post WWII population increase caused extreme school crowding. Catholic parishes in the area combined efforts and resources to construct a new high school. Helias Interparish High School was completed in 1956, allowing St. Peter High School to close. This relieved the overcrowding of elementary classes, while also allowing the addition of kindergarten classes, in the 1950’s.

Monsignor Vogelweid, a pastor at the time, believed that every student who wanted it, should be able to receive a Catholic education, no matter their learning ability. His vision led to a special education school, founded by Bishop Marling, Msgr. Vogelweid, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame. The creation of this school also came to be, due to dedicated parents, who wanted to give their children with special needs a Catholic education. In September, 1964, the Vogelweid Learning Center opened. the building housing it had been constructed during the pastorate of Msgr. Vogelwed in the 1950’s and was named in his honor in 1983. 

in 2005, a large addition to the school was started. This included several classrooms, a cafeteria, multipurpose facility/gymnasium, elevator, band room, art room and restrooms. A majority of the bottom floor, became the new home of the Vogelweid Learning Center. Students began using the new addition in January of 2007. 

In the fall of 2010, a preschool was opened in the original Vogelweid building. It continues to grow, having 3 classrooms, educating students ages 3-5. 

The creation of and continued success of St. Peter Catholic School, is because of many past and present, generous believers, with deep faith and commitment to parochial education for children of the Jefferson City area.