Historic St. John’s Military School Campus Bears Scars of Fires Past

Historic St. John’s Military School Campus Bears Scars of Fires Past
Photograph from Museum’s Collection, c1921

Nestled at the northern terminus of Santa Fe lies the site of former St. John’s Military School, steeped in a rich history that dates back to its inception. A prominent figure on this campus was Vail Hall, a stately structure that, for years, served as a hospitable beacon to numerous school visitors. However, the course of this institution's history took a somber turn in 1977, when a devastating fire ravaged several key buildings within its grounds.

Among the structures reduced to ashes was Vail Hall, built in 1887 and had fulfilled the role of administrative nucleus for the school. The inferno's reach also extended to Griswold Hall, a cherished dormitory that held the memories of generations past. This, however, wasn't the first encounter between Vail Hall and the destructive power of fire; in 1948, a blaze had already claimed the grand turrets adorning the edifice.

Captured in a photograph from the Museum's Collection, circa 1921, these incidents stand as testament to the resilience of St. John’s Military School, a resilient institution that has weathered the trials of time and flame alike.

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