InFormation (2021) Moments in Time 

Moments: MGC, 400 Acres, 2-3 Years to Build on Boonslick Road

Warrenton Banner, September 2, 1954

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Click to enlarge.I was going into 4rd grade, oblivious to stories beyond St. Mary's in Waterloo, Iowa. South, 240 miles, lay a village in rural Missouri. Warrenton, Missouri had a population in 1950 of 1,254 souls. It was about 45 miles west of Normandy, Missouri, the home of the Passionist Preparatory Seminary, Mother of Good Counsel. Today, Warrenton is essentially a suburb of St. Louis.

Decisions within Holy Cross Province made—in some small part, I assume—on population density which may have led to the idea to build outside of St. Louis. Normandy had a population of 2,306 souls in 1950; Metro St. Louis, however, had a density of 856,796 people in 1950. The difference in density between Normandy and Warrenton does not seem to be that great but the Passionist must have foreseen the growth of Metro St. Louis as a major factor.

Click to enlarge.The decision was made. Mr. and Mrs. Walter C. Meyer sold their farm of 400 acres to the Passionists. (The Meyers moved to Clayton, Missouri.) This was the largest real estate transaction in Warren County's history. There is no indication in this article of how much the Passionist paid. The title of the article makes an assumption: It will take 2-3 years to build and cost about $2,000,000. In today's dollars, that's about $20 million. It may have actually cost $2.5 million. The actual construction of the monastery, seminary, and retreat house was done by Joseph McNeill & Sons of Alhambra, California.

One thing that our teachers at MGC were not good at was history, especially recent history about our about-to-be-built home or, for that matter, about the history of Holy Cross Province, all 102 years of it.

I recommend this article in the Warrenton Banner as it gives context to the environment in which we grew up, alongside Boonslick Road—even the fact that the fresh water well was 1,100 feet deep!