Celebrating 150 Years

CHS staff


Canisius High School is celebrating its 150 year history during the 2019-2020 school year. It is a history that began in September 1870 when Jesuits opened a school adjacent to St. Michael's Church in downtown Buffalo with 35 students in the combined high school and college. In 1872, the cornerstone was laid for a new school building on Washington Street near St. Michael's.

By September 1912, the high school served 379 boys and Canisius College moved into new buildings at Main and Jefferson streets, leaving the Washington Street school exclusively for the high school. In 1928, the high school received an independent charter, completing its separation from the college.

By the early 1940s, the buildings on Washington Street were in considerable disrepair and no longer suitable for the 400-500 boys annually attending Canisius High School. In 1944, the Jesuits purchased the former Masonic Consistory, which in turn had incorporated the former George F. Rand mansion, at 1180 Delaware Avenue. Between 1944 and 1948, the high school classes were split, with the upper school students still attending classes at the Washington Street school and the lower school classes attending the new school on Delaware Avenue. September 1948 marked the first academic year that all Canisius students attended school together at 1180 Delaware.

Since 1948, Canisius High School has grown at times to an enrollment of over 800 young men. Significant recent additions to the campus include the 2003 purchase of 63 acres on Clinton Street in West Seneca for the Robert J. Stransky Athletic Complex, the acquisition of 1193 Delaware Avenue in 2006 for office space, and the addition of the Conners mansion at 1140 Delaware Avenue in 2017 for fine arts classroom space. Changes on the main campus at 1180 Delaware Avenue in recent years include the completion during the 2009-2010 school year of the Montante Academic Hall and Bernard J. Kennedy '49 Field House.

Click here to explore a timeline of Canisius' history.


Canisius will be hosting many events during the year-long sesquicentennial celebration, including:

  • September 6 - school picnic on campus following the Mass of the Holy Spirit 
  • September 14 - Mass for both Canisius High School and Canisius College at St. Joseph's Cathedral in Buffalo at 4:30pm
  • September 21 - alumni tailgate party at the Canisius vs. St. Joe's football game at the Stransky Athletic Complex at noon
    October 12 - "Blue Doors" by Paul Cumbo '97 book launch and signing in the Canisius library 7:00-8:30pm
  • November 16 - Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor and Athletic Hall of Fame inductions in the Kennedy Field House
  • March 21 - GAMBIT XLVI dinner auction in the school auditorium and Kennedy Field House
  • June 19-20 - Alumni Weekend events on campus

Signage on campus, including the Kennedy Field House, commemorates 150 years of Jesuit education at Canisius.


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