In 1922, Francis Joseph Reitz pledged money for the original Memorial High School to be built. Before he purchased the 13-acre tract of vacant property on Evansville’s Lincoln Avenue, Reitz had searched nearly a year for an appropriate site for the city’s new Catholic High School. A prominent local financier, Reitz demanded a location accessible by streetcar and near light, gas, and water lines. For his one million dollar gift to the youth of Evansville, Reitz was presented with the insignia of Knight and Knight Commander of the Order of Pius IX.
The original school had 18 classrooms, an auditorium with a stage that doubled as a gymnasium, library, and cafeteria, along with a candy store, parlor, and a large recreation room. The building was designed by Edward J. Thole and constructed by Albert J. Hoffman. The three-floor building was constructed of Ohio gray brick with elaborate trimmings of Indiana limestone. Bedford stone sculptures around the three main entrances, the window apertures, and the roof pediment supplemented the building’s Tudor-Gothic design. Ornamental pillars at the entrances of the walks and driveways reinforced the utility of design.
Take a Historical Tour with Br. Eugene Phillip, C.S.C.
New Year’s Day, 1925, Reitz Memorial High School was dedicated by Bishop Chartrand of Indianapolis. Classes began January 5, and the boys were taught by the Brothers of The Holy Cross and the girls by the Sisters of Providence.
In 1969, a new addition was added to Reitz Memorial High School. The new wing extending along Bennighof Avenue came with expanded first and second floors, a new gym, band room, and library. The new gym could hold up to 2,000 people.
On July 7, 1998, groundbreaking began for a new addition to Reitz Memorial High School. The new $5 million west wing expansion was dedicated on January 21, 2000. This new building included eight new classrooms, two art studios, two science labs, a wrestling room, an auxiliary gym, and a state-of-the-art media center. Renovations to the existing building included all new windows and a new heating and air conditioning system. The new improvements have increased Memorial’s functional capacity to nearly 900.
At the end of the 2007-2008 school year, Principal Gerry Adams retired after serving the Memorial community for 26 years. Memorial welcomed Mrs. Gwen Godsey the following school year to continue the Memorial tradition. Mrs. Gwen Godsey was principal for three years. In the fall of 2011, Mrs. Cynthia Schneider joined the Memorial community as the new principal. At the end of the 2015-2016 school year, Mrs. Schneider retired after serving the Memorial Community for 20 years. She served for 5 years as principal and 15 years as a teacher. Dr. Anne Marie Williams followed as principal for the next two and a half years, retiring in the winter of 2018 from a full career in teaching and administration the state of Indiana. Mrs. Sally Sternberg began in January of 2019, and serves as our current Principal.
On Sept. 23, 2014, Bishop Charles Thompson visited Memorial to celebrate Mass with the Memorial family in Traylor Family Stadium. He also took the opportunity to bless and dedicate all of our new facilities. These facilities included the new Traylor Family Stadium, the Koch Family Plaza, the Robert M. Kent Athletic Center, the Orthopaedic Associates / Progressive Health Scoreboard, the German American Message Center, and the Witting Parking Lot.
On Sept. 30, 2014, our boys and girls soccer teams hosted Harrison in the first games ever at Traylor Family Stadium. This was the very first time that Memorial has ever been able to host soccer games on its very own field.