The present St. Anthony’s Catholic began in 1877, which was originally named Our Lady of Lourdes School. Opening its doors to fifty students (boys and girls), the school was established by Reverend William Gleeson and staffed by the Sisters of Mercy. It served the Catholic population of East Oakland and Alameda. In these beginning years, students frequently came from as far south as San Leandro.
Before the turn of the century, several changes occurred. In 1881, Our Lady of Lourdes added a high school. Then, with the expansion of the convent in 1886, a limited number of boarders were accommodated. In 1890, a school for boys, St. Anthony’s, was opened by the Christian Brothers, which thus transformed Our Lady of Lourdes into an academy for girls. Then, in 1914, the Christian Brothers withdrew from teaching at St. Anthony’s--a significant change that not only shifted faculty personnel, but also the student population. The Sisters of Mercy took the Christian Brothers’ place as faculty and the girls from the elementary grade levels at Our Lady of Lourdes transferred to St. Anthony’s.
After nearly 70 years of service, the old wooden structures of the St. Anthony convent and school were deemed to have outlived their usefulness. As a result, Monsignor Hammond raised funds to build a new school structure; the same structure that still stands today. In January 1949, the students moved into the new school, at which time, the old building was torn down. On May 14, 1950, Archbishop Mitty of San Francisco dedicated the present school complex consisting of eight classrooms, kindergarten, library, cafeteria, a full-size gym, and clubroom.
In its early years, the Catholic population of St. Anthony’s Catholic School was predominantly Irish and Portuguese. Over the years, the Hispanic and Latino population grew and now they have become the majority living in the area. Into its second century, St. Anthony’s Catholic School prides itself in serving a diverse community of Americans who represent many racial and ethnic origins.