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  • Writer's pictureTedd Long

Westminster and St. John's College

Corner of Locust and Superior Streets.

If this building could talk it would begin its story in 1870 when 41 charter members of Westminster Presbyterian Church commissioned the erection of this massive brick structure at a cost of $47,000.  Construction was completed in 1873 but an interesting twist to the story is the fact that the building was only used as a church until 1909. That's when Westminster congregation and the First Presbyterian congregation at Orange and Huron streets, consolidated into the First Westminster Presbyterian Church. This church building was then sold to the St. John's Roman Catholic College and became known as Westminster Hall.

The former church served as the college's gymnasium—basketball was king at St. John's back in the day. Just a decade after converting Westminster Church into Westminster Hall, the undefeated Saints won the 1921 Middle West Non-Conference Championship by beating teams like Notre Dame, Michigan, the University of Detroit, Dayton, St. Louis, and Carnegie Tech University. Ten thousand people packed the former church that year to watch St. John's beat some of the best teams in the midwest.


St. John's College was founded by the Jesuits in 1898. It was located at 807 Superior Street - across from Westminster. Built in 1899 and 1909, it was demolished in 1976. It was a liberal arts college with a business administration program and a law school that served as the precursor to the University of Toledo College of Law.

Before closing the college, the Jesuits had purchased property near what is now Gesu church and school off Parkside and Bancroft for the relocation of its campus. However, the land was used in 1955 for the campus of St. Francis de Sales High School, sponsored by the Oblates of St. Francis DeSales. Eventually, the Jesuits opened St. John's High School on Airport Highway in Toledo as a college-prep high school in 1965.

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