In 1848 Bishop Henni was given a sum of $16,000 for the sole purpose of starting an institution of higher learning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It took him almost 33 years to make this dream happen but in 1881 Marquette College opened its doors for learning in this building at 10th and State Streets. The cornerstone for the building was laid on August 14, 1880 and the building was dedicated the following August. In 1904 Marquette College President Rev. A.J. Burrowes, S.J. decided that the College had outgrown its location and Johnston Hall was constructed on Wisconsin Avenue to house the growing school. In 1923 the original Marquette College building was converted to the Saint Benedict Boarding School; in 1967 it became the Urban Day School. In 1970 the building was razed to make room for Saint Anthony's Hospital. At the time of its demolition, the cornerstone was removed and archivists found newspapers from August 14, 1880 along with coins, religious medals, a statue of Saint Joseph, a list of churches, and an 1880 map of Milwaukee. Many of the items from the cornerstone are maintained in the Marquette University Archives; the cornerstone is currently installed in the lobby of the John P. Raynor, S.J. Library.
Named for Father Jacques Marquette, a Jesuit missionary from France who was sent as a missionary first to Canada and then south into what is now Wisconsin. Marquette was both a priest and an explorer who along with Louis Jolliet explored much of what is now the American Midwest. He is memorialized in many ways along both the eastern and western shores of Lake Michigan.
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