St. Mary’s School was founded in 1921 by the Paulist Fathers, who administered the parish of Old St. Mary’s Church, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, who became the school’s teachers.  It was opened in response to anti-Chinese sentiments and racial segregation in San Francisco.  During that time, Chinese children were only allowed to attend the public Oriental School.  Motivated by establishing a school that the Paulists felt the immigrant community deserved, St. Mary’s opened on Stockton Street.

The Stockton Street building sustained little damage in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, but building codes passed in response to the city-wide devastation required costly retrofits of the original unreinforced masonry structure.

After 68 years, the school moved to a “temporary site” at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on Broadway Street while raising funds to erect the present day building.  In 2011, after years of dedicated fundraising, St. Mary’s School finally moved to the new site at 838 Kearny Street.  Today, St. Mary’s stands as a monument to over 90 years of education in Chinatown, built and still supported by a strong, united community of families, educators, alumni, parishioners, and other community members.

Please help support San Francisco Chinatown and our efforts to provide a diverse education through this historical institution.  #SaveStMarySF