The History of Cedar Grove Academy
When the Sisters of Charity established their first real Motherhouse on Mt. Harrison in 1854, they called it Mt. St. Vincent. The same year they moved the Academy at Third and Plum to the new Motherhouse. When the Alderson property on Price Hill was bought in 1857, both the Motherhouse and the Academy moved there, calling both Cedar Grove. Classes were conducted in the old Alderson home, later called “the Cradle.” Within a year, a five-story building was erected to house Sisters, boarders, and classrooms.
Until 1884, Cedar Grove was strictly a boarding school for girls, but that year Mt. St. Vincent accepted girls who were day students and young boys. In 1906, the boarders were transferred to Mount St. Joseph Academy, and the old 1858 building was renovated to serve the increasing number of students. The first superiors and principals were the Mothers General of the Community until the Motherhouse was transferred to Delhi in 1883.
In compliance with the Archbishop’s plan to centralize the high schools of the Archdiocese, Mt. St. Vincent Academy (Cedar Grove) held its final graduation in 1927. In the fall of 1927, Seton High School opened as a diocesan high school, accepting girls from 14 “tributary parishes” (later referred to as “feeder schools”). Mother Mary Florence Kent was the last principal of Cedar Grove and the first principal of Seton, soon to be succeeded by S. Louis Bertrand O’Connor. Enrollment in 1927 was 357, a number that would rapidly increase.
In 1932, a new building was erected, containing an auditorium-gym and classrooms. The middle 1950s saw the razing of old buildings, the ones from 1858 and 1874 and “the Cradle,” and the erection of a new three-story, state-of-the-art high school. The dedication of the new building occurred Oct. 20, 1957, just 100 years after the Sisters of Charity arrived at Cedar Grove. The convent, located on the third floor, housed as many as 45 Sisters during the 1960s when enrollment was well over 1,000.
In 1982, when the number of Sisters had declined, the convent was converted into four independent apartments with a capacity of 24. Enrollment in the school stood just over 700 in 1998; seven Sisters were employed in the school. The last Sister of Charity principal, S. Brenda Busch, left the school in 1997.