In October 1881, Mother Margaret Dunne and three religious of the Sacred Heart opened a
boarding school for girls at a temporary location on Ninth and Howard in Omaha. On September
1, 1882, Bishop James O'Connor sold Park Place, a 12-acre site "west of town," to the sisters for
the sum of one dollar. Building construction commenced in February, and in November the
Academy of the Sacred Heart opened to seventeen boarders. On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913,
a devastating tornado demolished the north wing of the school. Reconstruction took a full year
and changed the front entrance to the present circle drive.
The school was approved for college courses in 1916, and in 1920 the Academy became
Duchesne College and Convent of the Sacred Heart. Both college and grade school closed in the
1960s having educated thousands of students, pre-school through college. Today Duchesne
Academy of the Sacred Heart continues as a Catholic, four-year, college preparatory, high school
for women. It exemplifies a tradition of religious commitment and builds on the educational
excellence of the women religious who first came to this "frontier post in the far west."
The Class of 1981
Nebraska State Historical Society
3601 Burt St., Omaha