Marian Hills Seminary

Marian Hills SeminaryOn August 24, 1922, the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception purchased a 220 acre farm in DuPage County. The purchase included 40 head of cattle and a flock of chickens. The farm’s rural location and its proximity to a train station made it an ideal site on which to build a Catholic school for the sons of Lithuanian immigrants who lived in Chicago and the surrounding area. The Marian Fathers established Marian Hills College (known briefly as the Lithuanian College of America) for novices and young men interested in joining the Congregation of the Marian Fathers. As the enrollment grew, the DuPage location could no longer accommodate the growing student body, and the college was relocated to Connecticut.

The Marian Fathers continued to run the farm and operate a boys’ summer camp until the early 1970s when developers purchased the land. The Seminary’s 220 acres extended north to 59th Street, south to 67th Street, east to Clarendon Hills Road, and west to Route 83 in what is now Willowbrook. From 1950 to 1962, the Seminary chapel served over 2,000 parishioners of St. Mary’s Parish (renamed Our Lady of Peace in 1982). Those who attended services at the Seminary remember the beautiful tree-lined entry which ended in a circular drive at the building’s entrance. The construction of St. Mary’s church and school in December 1962 as well as the Congregation’s need for funds prompted the Marian Fathers to sell the property to developers. Willowbrook subdivisions such as the Knolls, Lake Hinsdale Village, Stanhope Square and the Hinsdale Commons shopping center now occupy land that was formerly part of the Seminary.