The Ursuline Sisters founded St. Bernard's Academy in 1885 with assistance from St. Michael's Catholic Church. Located at 1600 Fourth Avenue North, the Academy was a combined classroom and dormitory facility. Financial difficulties forced the Ursuline Sisters to sell the building, which was purchased by the Sisters of St. Joseph in 1914. The Sisters then opened St. James Academy, which stressed scholarship, music, and the arts.
World War II halted efforts to renovate the building because construction materials and labor where urgently needed for the war effort. Finally, in 1956 after an aggressive, half-million dollar fund raising campaign, the new St. James High School was dedicated. The school had twelve classrooms as well as a large gymnasium/auditorium. Student enrollment at the time neared 400.
Construction of the new facility, however, did not end its financial issues. Problems centered around the physical plant, originally constructed not long after the sale of St. Bernard's Academy in 1914. Recommendations to close St. James High School were received from both the local Catholic School Board, as well as the Diocesan Board. The final commencement ceremony for St. James High School occurred May 25, 1969, after which the school closed.
Sources: They Came to Stay: Grand Forks, North Dakota Centennial: 1874-1974. p. 66
Grand Forks: A Pictorial History (1986): p. 25, 35
Grand Forks Herald: 25 May 1969
The St. James High School Records have been divided into three series:
Series 1: Scrapbooks, 1927-1969
Series 2: Student Publications, 1925-1968
Series 3: Miscellaneous
Thirty one photographs and one folder of slides were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets.