This city and college take their name from St. Mary's
Catholic Mission founded here by the Jesuits in 1848
for the Pottawatomie Indians. These missionaries, who
had lived with the tribe in eastern Kansas from 1838,
accompanied the removal to this area. A manual labor
school was operated at the mission until 1871. From it
developed St. Mary's College, chartered in 1869. In 1931
the college became a Jesuit seminary. A boulder on the
campus marks the site of the first cathedral between
the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains. Built of
logs in 1849, it became the See of Bishop Miege, "Bishop
of the Indians." Vice President Charles Curtis, part Kaw
Indian, was baptized in this parish on April 15, 1860.
The mission was an important stopping point on the
Oregon trail. Here also was the U.S. Pottawatomie agency.
This building still stands 600 feet northwest of this