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Loretto Academy
El Paso, Texas


Description: Loretto Academy
Other Names: Loretto College and Academy
Address: 4600 Hueco Avenue at 1300 Hardaway Street, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: educational, for girls: parochial elementary and high school
Original Client: Mother Superior Praxedes Carty, The Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross
Historic Inventory: on El Paso Register of Historic Places
Date: 1922-1936; opened September 5, 1923; chapel cornerstone dated 1924
Condition: extant, in use as a school

Architect or Firm: Gustavus A. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors: Joseph E. Morgan
Dimensions and Orientation: central chapel with two 3 story wings, forming a reverse; faces southwest

Foundation: concrete
Wall Materials: brick, stuccoed
Roofing Materials: red Spanish tile
Other Materials Used: terra cotta
Remodeling and Additions: Academy building interior remodeled 1931 (?)

Present Owner: The Sisters of Loretto at the Foot of the Cross
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (I-1) 44 ink on linen plans dated April, June, November and December, 1922, and March, 1923, front, side and rear elevations; general views, Academy building, Chapel; (I-2) 4 ink on linen plans, east elevation of Academy building, dated December 1, 1930, January and October, 1931; Ponsford 432, photograph of preliminary study signed H. C. Trost [i.e., H. C. T. Del.]; Ponsford 433, photograph of drawing, general view; N-79, pencil on tissue, preliminary study for drawing photographed as Ponsford 432; N-103, pencil on large sheet of tissue, unsigned and undated drawing of Loretto Academy as built
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 437, perspective view; Aultman, A5911, general view, A5912, chapel entry, A5913, left hand building, A5914, view from the left; A5916, right hand building, A5952, 338a, chapel interior looking toward the altar; A5953, general view with landscaping; 1110-1112, 308, Bishop Anthony J. Schuller and Knights of Columbus emerging from the Chapel; 343, Chapel facade; 344, Chapel doorway with crowd of visitors; El Paso Public Library picture file, Catholic Church, aerial view, about 1923

Bibliography: (1) New Loretto Site Bought Near Fort Bliss, El Paso Herald, April 4, 1922, page 3 (site described, budget given, architects named, and report that work will begin at once)
(2) Sam Ray Hill, Picture History of the Pass to the North (Commercial Printing Company, 1967), page 18 (exterior photograph)
(3) Jeannie Navar, Loretto Tower Reveals History, El Paso Times, May 2, 1970, page 6-D, history of the chapel tower which was not built as a campanile, but as a water storage tower
(4) Craig Phelon, Loretto Academy Outlasts Rest, El Paso Times, Saturday, August 5, 1978, page 1-C, history of the order and their schools
(5) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), pages 81 and 83, discussed; page 83 illustrated (Ponsford 433)
(6) Jay C. Henry, Trost and Trost in El Paso, Texas Architect, volume XXXVII, number 2 (March April, 1987), front cover and pages 34-39 (page 36: exterior photograph by Jay C. Henry; page 37: compared to El Paso High School
(7) Sister M. Lilliana Owens, Loretto in El Paso, 1879-1952(St. Louis: McMullen, 1964)

Remarks: Commission 2549

Loretto in El Paso cited above states on page 37 that Joseph E. Morgan and Gus Trost choose the site, “loyal friends” of Mother Praxedes. The same page further states that “Mr. Gus Trost and his brother were invited … to draw up plans….” We now believe that Gustavus A. Trost was the primary architect of Loretto. At the least, the rather dry and conventional preliminary plan signed by Henry C. Trost (Ponsford 432) has little to do with the elegant, unified scheme which was finally achieved. Gustavus A. Trost was almost certainly the supervising architect of the chapel. In an interview with the authors in Rockville, Maryland, on August 25,1991, Marion Trost (Mrs. James) Doherty, daughter of Gustavus A. Trost,
Mrs. Doherty related that her father and Mother Superior Praxedes Carty had a close personal and working relationship. She also related that designing the Academy as continuous structures was the idea of the Mother Superior.Although the Academy opened in 1923, the Chapel and present high school were only shells, and were not finished until the 1930s.

See also, St. Joseph’s Academy, El Paso, Texas  the predecessor school to Loretto.

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1990