The Ursuline Academy at Galveston was established in February 1847 by Ursuline Sisters from New Orleans, who had arrived on January 16. The school, Galveston's first parochial school, was on a ten-acre campus. Attended by girls of all faiths, the academy opened in 1854, closed for a time in 1857 during a yellow fever epidemic, and was used as a hospital by both sides during the Civil War. The main Victorian Gothic building, constructed by Nicholas J. Clayton along with the convent in the mid-1890s, sheltered more than 1,000 refugees during the Galveston hurricane of 1900. A total of 306 students enrolled in 1930, and the girls' high school, elementary school, and kindergarten had an enrollment of 225 in 1940. In January 1947 the school celebrated its centennial, and by 1949 the campus comprised seven or eight acres with the academy building, a brick chapel, and monastery. Hurricane Carla damaged both the academy and convent in 1961, and the buildings were subsequently demolished. The campus chapel, redesigned by Clayton, stood from 1871 to 1961, while the convent remained from 1854 to 1973. In 1968 the Ursuline girls' school consolidated with Kirwin Catholic High School and the Dominican girls' school; it was renamed O'Connell High School for Msgr. Dan O'Connell.
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