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St. Helen's Hall - The Early Years (1869-1910s)


St. Helen's Hall was founded in 1869 by Bishop Benjamin Wistar Morris and operated by his sister-in-law, Mary Rodney. The original school site was located on 4th Avenue and Jefferson Street, which is now the current site of Portland City Hall. 

By the 1880s, downtown Portland was growing fast and the school needed a new location. In 1891, St. Helen's Hall moved into the Vista Avenue building where it saw many years of good enrollment and exciting curriculum. In 1904, the Sisters of St. John the Baptist, a convent located in New York, came to manage and operate St. Helen's Hall. After a devastating fire destroyed the Vista Avenue building in 1914, the school remained open and classes resumed in the gymnasium.

By the end of the 1910s, St. Helen’s Hall was again in need of a new location to accommodate the school’s increasing enrollment and in 1918 it moved into the old Portland Academy building on SW 13th and Hall streets.