Immaculate Heart Academy and Convent
(formerly known as St. Joseph's Academy)
School in use from 1885 to 1968
St. Joseph's Academy Grounds, St. Joseph's Academy
Nuns from two different orders taught school at this site for approximately 100 years. The Sisters of Saint Joseph, the first nuns to arrive in Tucson, taught here from 1885 to 1931. When they moved to a new school in 1931, the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart began teaching in this building, instructing children from kindergarten through grade twelve.

Region: Tucson and Southern Arizona
Theme: Women and Education

Originally from a French order, the Sisters of Saint Joseph arrived in Tucson in 1870 and opened a school called Saint Joseph's Academy. The academy's first location was next to St. Augustine Cathedral. The Sisters of Saint Joseph moved the academy to this site on what is now 15th Street in 1885. They instructed both Catholics and non-Catholics, and most students came from Spanish and Mexican American families during the early period. The sisters learned Spanish and taught both English and Spanish. By 1931, the school had outgrown the building, and the diocese purchased another property known as Villa Carondelet in the foothills of the Rincon Mountains, east of downtown Tucson.

The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart arrived in Tucson in 1917 and taught in other locations before moving to this site. They renamed the school the Immaculate Heart Academy and taught grades kindergarten through high school at this location until 1971. The nuns lived in a convent at the back of the building. In 1971, the high school moved to a new location. The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart continued teaching elementary school here until 1986. This site represents women's contributions in education and religious life in Tucson.

The building, located at 35 E. 15th Street, has been converted to loft apartments and is a drive-by site. This site is on the AWHT Tucson Walking Tour which begins at the Sosa-Carrillo-Fremont House. Brochures/maps will be available in May at the Tucson Visitors' Center in La Placita at 100 S. Church Ave.

Photo Credits:
St. Joseph's Academy (B89395) - Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society, Tucson
Grounds, St. Joseph's Academy (BN201184) - Courtesy of Arizona Historical Society, Tucson


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