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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Our Lady of Lourdes School

Our Lady of Lourdes School

The caption card for this one just says "Post Office." Thanks to our commenters we now know that the building with the statue is the Our Lady of Lourdes School at 468 West 143rd Street in New York circa 1914. 8x10 inch glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size | The school in 2007.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Lutheran Hospital

Thanks you both, Dave and Jackie, for your responses.

I will follow the advice and hope to be able to pass soon by the neighborhood.


Lutheran Hospital

Hello Anne,

Yes, I know Lutheran Hospital. My three oldest boys were born there: 1951: 1952: 1954. My brother-in-law's father died there c. 1937. When I last passed by the neighborhood, three years ago, I saw that the hospital had been converted to an assisted living facility.

The neighborhood is looking great - real upscale. The brownstones that one could buy in the 1930s for a song are now selling for well over a million dollars. In the 1930s they were empty, thanks to the banks that foreclosed during the Depression. As kids we ran through them and at one time had a clubhouse inside one.

In friendship,
Jackie Woods

Lutheran Hospital

I found this link when looking for the Lutheran Hospital. Very interesting information.

I am researching my family history and found out this hospital is where my great grandfather passed away. Thinking that there may be additional information on the records, I searched for the hospital but have not been able to find any recent reference to it. Has the Hospital been closed? Can anybody give me some background information? I will certainly appreciate it,


[You might try the Archives search box on the New York Times Web site. Lutheran Hospital of Manhattan, at 343 Convent Avenue, merged with Norwegian Lutheran Deaconess Hospital in 1956 to form Our Saviour's Lutheran Hospital at the Norwegian Hospital facility on 46th Street and Fourth Avenue in Brooklyn. It's now called Lutheran Medical Center. - Dave]

OLL, late 1950s and early 60s

Don't know how I found this website, but so glad that I did. I graduated OLL in June 1961. The nuns are my most vivid memories of the school. The spring and Christmas plays that were held each year. Recess outside during lunchtime. Walking to school each day and spending the few pennies we had to buy candy at the store on Amsterdam Avenue, and the bicycle store there where we rented bikes on Saturday afternoons. Going to confession every Saturday down in the grotto. Checking the Legion of Decency list for movie listings. Learning to sing the Mass in Latin for every Sunday High Mass and, most important, the foundation the nuns gave us for our religion that is still strong to this day. A few years ago, we drove from Jersey up to the old place and convent still looked pretty good. Can someone please explain about not being under the archdiocese any longer. Thanks again.

To Jackie Woods

I knew Dennis before the war, and graduated OLL in 1937. My sister Marie graduated in 1936 and received a scholarship to Holy Name. Finding your web site after all these years is a small miracle. I'm sorry to say Marie, such a special person, passed away in 1977. Andrew, a 1943 or 44 graduate, died in 2000. I did not marry till 1985, had a daughter in 86. My wife Alice and I celebrated our daughter Colleen's wedding Nov. 24, 2007. I hope this proves I was not as bad as the sisters believed. They wanted so to see me go that they created the first coed class and skipped me from 6th to 8th grade. Yes we marched on the roof, auditorium, basement and in far away competition. I believe we had a West Point officer, but not certain. I just hope that life was as rewarding to all OLL graduates as I. God bless.

John Orlando


Could not connect with your e-mail:
Would you please check it.
When did you attend OLL?
I gave my information previously on bottom of page.
Look forward to hearing from you.

In friendship,

Jackie woods

OLL Alumni

Hello OLL'ers

Head over to the OLL website

There's an alumni page where you can send your information and be put on the mailing list.

Our Lady of Lourdes School and Church

And a HI to you,

The good sisters left about ten years ago.

You can reach the school online, it has a Web site.

The school is no longer under the supervision of the Church.

If you look over the rest of this page you will see that I have answered a number of postings that may be of interest to you.

"Memories are made of this."

In friendship,

Jackie Woods

OLL Memories

Hi. I attended OLL from grades K to 5. I have the most beautiful memories of my childhood there. I loved the nuns. I can't believe how time has gone so fast. If anyone remembers me or remembers Sister Mary Owen or Ms. Valentine or the gym instructor George Izquierdo. I am talking about late 1960's, early 70's. Please contact me. Are the sisters still there? I went to visit Sister Mary Owen a couple of years ago. She wasn't wearing her habit any more. Those were good old days. I was so mischievous, always getting into trouble. Oh my God. I had the best early education there, never will I forget. I love history and I love these pictures that were posted up above, everything looks the same. Thanks! My family still lives up in Washington Heights.


I graduated from OLL in 1973 and it is so wonderful to see a website with the School and the information that it offers. I too wondered about the Masses in the lower church. The grotto was always so beautiful and special. I have lived in Florida since 1986 and hope to make a trip to NYC just to visit the old school. Thanks again for bringing a smile to my face today. God bless.

OLL graduates

Hi, Yes, I do remember a Phillips family. The boys or boy were in a higher grade with one of my brothers. As you can see, I had already left OLL when you started there. I am pleased you have good memories of your early years. Unfortunately, mine are mixed. An incident: a bunch of us, about 12 years old at the time, were fooling around and one of the boys fell out of a tree and broke his arm. We carried him to Lutheran Hospital They wouldn't let us in the front door. Told us to take him to Knickerbocker Hospital near 131st Street, and so we did. Today, I ask why no first aid was administered or an ambulance called. However, I have nothing but good words about the hospital in later years. I was sorry to hear about brother RIP

Regards and in friendship,
Jackie Woods

PS My oldest sister, Ellen, class of 1936 Won scholorship to Holy Child Academy

My older brother William (Billy), Class of 1937, won a scholarship to Regis High.

Our Lady of Lourdes School

What wonderful memories of days past. I attended OLL from 1943 and graduated in 1951. One of five brothers to do so. You may have known my older brothers, Larry, Dick or Bill. We lived in that apartment building at the end of the street on the OLL side. That was the location of Alexander Hamilton's house, Hamilton Grange. When it was built, it forced the move to its present location behind the church. It will be moved again to the SE corner of Convent and 141st Street. You also mentioned Lutheran Hospital. It wasn't so great for our family. My brother Dick was taken there after being hit by a car. While recovering, he contracted rheumatic fever in the hospital and later died at New York Hospital. We also lived at 310 Convent Avenue because my mother's family, the Healys, lived on 141st Street. If you have any other questions, ask away. I'm still in contact with several classmates and between us, we should be able to answer.

"Thanks for the Memories"
Bob Phillips

Our Lady of Lourdes, 1909

I had a chance to scan the old photo I found of this block. It dates to 1909, not 1908 as I had first said. Every building seen in this photo remains, though some of the lots on the right-hand side of 143rd street were empty in 1909, including the lot that would house Our Lady of Lourdes three years later.

Anticipating the interest of Shorpy's crew of automotive experts, I provide a closeup of that car on Amsterdam Avenue, below.

Also, a note to Jackie Woods: we're of different generations. It is good to exchange notes here, but I'm sure we've never met.

Our Lady of Lourdes

Thank you for your latest information, Central Harlem. Where was your school located? Did you live nearby? I'm 80 years old going on 81 and all I have are my memories (mostly fond). And my memory is outstanding. I was hoping to hear from anyone who attended OLL with me.

By the way, the folks on Amsterdam Avenue always envied the folks on Convent Avenue, always a beautiful clean street. (Today we would say "upscale.") Three of my children were born in The Lutheran Hospital of Manhattan on 144th off Convent. I had moved to upper Washington Heights by then but my doctor was still working out of there.

Thank you and in friendship,
Jackie Woods

Our Lady of Lourdes

I attended an Episcopalian school. I contributed that photo because of my joy in Harlem history, not any tie to this school in particular.

Last weekend, I found a photograph of this block dating to 1908! All the buildings looked the same except for OLL, which was then an empty lot. Perhaps Team Shorpy can enlighten me -- would it be compliant with copyright law for me to scan and post it?

[Is there a copyright notice on it? If it was copyrighted before 1923, the copyright has expired. - Dave]

Our Lady of Lourdes

Central Harlem, did you attend Our Lady of Lourdes? If so what years?

Thanks for the picture

Jackie Woods

Our Lady of Lourdes, 2008

I had a chance to stop by West 143rd street and take a snapshot today. The cornerstone is dated 1912. As you can see, every building shown in the "1914" photograph is extant and all are in excellent condition. There is even a fire hydrant in the same location as the fire hydrant shown in the photo. As for changes — there are trees on the block now, and the cornice has been removed from Our Lady of Lourdes, as has the statue of the saint. And, of course, as with all modern photos taken in New York, it is full of automobiles.

our lady of lourdes in february 2008
(Click to enlarge)

The reddish sign on the left side of the street, behind the motorcycle, identifies this block as part of the Hamilton Heights Historical District (Hamilton Grange is only a few blocks away). Today was garbage day, so a distracting pile of trash sits in the foreground, sorry about that.

OLL Neighborhood

I lived on Amsterdam Ave for 16 years. Where did you live? When did you attend OLL School? The few friends I had from the old days have passed on. I answered your other message; The Nuns left about 15 years ago. You need to have someone open the lower church to visit there. The Blessed Mother's Statue is still located in the Grotto but masses are no longer read there.

Regards and in friendship.

Jackie Woods

Theatrical productions?

Oh, how I wish I had your recall. However, I did attend O.L.L. from 1933 through 1940. Yes, the stage was used - but with limited equipment. I never saw or played on a rooftop playground. There was no gymnasium. The seats in the auditorium were moved to the side for military drilling by boys from grades 5 to 8 once a week. The girls exercised in a nearby room. The children in the lower grades had no physical training. I don't remember an assembly room for any parish organizations. Family members were not encouraged to come to the school except on Graduation Day or if the student had a serious problem that required a meeting with the principal and/or a parish priest. I must say we all received a very good education and were farther ahead in our studies than the Public School kids.

Yours truly and in friendship,
Jackie Woods

O.L.L. Upper and lower church

Yes, the upper church is still active with most Masses in Spanish. The lower church {the Grotto) is not used. However the statue of the Blessed Mother is still on view. The sisters left about 10 years ago. I visited the school and was told the Church no longer had any say in its operation. When did you attend? I was there from 1933 to 1940.

J Woods

Our Lady of Lourdes

I also went there in the 1950's. The nuns were very dedicated to teaching. Our religion was the major reason they and all of us were there. The grotto was under the main stairs and confession was held downstairs at 4 pm on Saturday. The children's Mass was at 9 am on Sunday, a High Mass in Latin. The doors of the main church came from old St. Patrick's downtown in Little Italy.

The sisters made sure that the majority of 8th grade students got into Catholic high school. A lot of the girls went to Cathedral H.S. and the boys went to Cardinal Hayes.

The church was around the corner with a connection to the back of the school. The convent was right next door to the church and the rectory was across the street.

Once in a while we were invited to go to the convent on a Saturday to see the nuns. The neighborhood was pretty good, all kind of stores that tolerated all of us kids.

It was nice going there for eight years. Fond memories.

Upper and Lower Church

Can you tell me if the Upper and Grotto Church still exists and do they have mass on Saturdays and Sundays? I lived 2 streets away a long time ago and would like to see the old neighborshood. I have never forgotten the Grotto. It's so unique. Would like to share it with my spouse.

Or maybe I can speak with someone in the convent. Are the nuns still there?

Thank you.
Diana Gosciniak

Does anyone remember an

Does anyone remember an Irish nun by the name of Sister Gerard? She was one of the Ursula ? nuns at the Our Lady of Lourdes in Manhatten. She emigrated about 1910, so am not sure anyone would remember her...

Is there a cemetery associated with Our Lady of Lourdes?

Convent Avenue

This photo faces east, and the townhouses in the background are along the east side of Convent Avenue. All of them still stand, most are in superb condition. This is the finest real estate in Harlem; a house across the street sold for $3.89 million about 18 months ago. Here is a listing for a house a few doors down from the ones seen here:

Note the terraces on two of the buildings -- those are stunning and almost never seen in New York.

Johnny Pump

That fire hydrant probably was installed in the late 1880s. Was born and bred in NYC and traversed all five boroughs many many times, but NEVER laid eyes on a johnny pump like that. Every boy who ever grew up in "The City" is instinctively drawn to hop over as many hydrants as possible. However that one is a KILLER.

Our Lady of Lourdes

I attended OLL from 1933 to 1941. The lower grades kindergarten to fourth were taught by the Ursuline Order of Sisters. The upper grades fifth to eighth were taught by the Sisters of the Holy Child. The school was funded and guided by the priests of the adjoining OLL Church.

We were there to learn,to pray: no play, no library, no lunch room, no outside activities. It was not an easy life for children of poor families during this Great Depression Era. I often cried and asked God to help me through the day, the year. I know I received a very good education but not a happy one. There were nuns I would have died for, however there were many that should not have been allowed to teach children.

The Church and school were founded by Monsignor Thomas McMann. There is a bust of the good priest near the entrance to the upper church.

In the 1930s we were allowed on the roof for various activities.

The term "very stern " comes to mind.

The statue is Our Lady of Lourdes, similar to the statue in the grotto in the lower church on 142nd Street. It was removed a few years ago as it decayed and was ready to fall off the roof.

Our Lady of Lourdes

I attended this school for eight years in the 1950s. The lower grades entered by one door and the higher grades used the other. City College frat houses faced the school. Recess was on the street out front. We didn't have any cooking or sewing classes, no classrooms equipped for that. There wasn't any gym. We weren't allowed to go up on the roof and there wasn't an assembly room. We did have a annual spring play using the stage and we had a Christmas concert. There was a way into the church from the back of the school. The nuns that taught there were called Society of the Holy Child. Father Kline was one of the priests and Mother Mary Edward taught there. A good school, good memories.


Google Street View. It's always interesting to see NYC in the early years, and how it's changed.


Which is the Post Office? The large building in the center must be a Catholic School, what with a saint on the roof and all.

As for the location, I have no clue.

post office

Building with street level entrance and flags would be my likely guess.

Post Office

Which building is the Post Office?

Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School

This is Our Lady of Lourdes School in New York City on 143rd Street between Amsterdam Avenue and Convent Avenue. The school was built in 1913 in Washington Heights, an exclusively white, upper middle-class neighborhood. It was built and equipped at a total cost of one hundred and forty thousand dollars.

Besides classrooms for five hundred pupils, the building contained an auditorium with a stage lavishly equipped for theatrical productions, a gymnasium, a roof-top playground, an assembly room for parish organizations, rooms for classes in cooking and sewing, and offices for the school officials.

The associated church (Our Lady of Lourdes) is located directly behind the school on the next block, 142nd Street.

Post office?

Looks like a Catholic school, actually. This is just a wild-a**ed guess, but St. Jean Baptiste on East 75th? This would coincide with the warehouse cart on the left (sort of).

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