The Hilltop



In 1883 the work of buying the various land tracts that dissected the hilltop began. The young community lived in nearby Gervais until 1884 when the land was purchased, at which time the name of the town was likewise changed to Mount Angel. The following year saw the arrival of the newly appointed third archbishop of Oregon City, Archbishop Gross, who was an educator. At his insistence the community opened a college in 1887 and the Benedictine Press in the following year. Then in 1889, again at the urging of Archbishop Gross, Mount Angel Priory opened a seminary - the second on the west coast, and now the oldest in existence west of the Rockies. Then in 1892 a disastrous fire destroyed the monastery, church and seminary buildings and brought the first great setback to the young community.
Father Adelhelm, the first prior of the community, was now replaced in that office and began to expend himself in soliciting funds, both to pay off the debts incurred in the buying of land and rapid building, and also, now, to be able to rebuild. He was successful, and the cornerstone of the new monastery was laid in 1899, this time on top of the hill, by a new archbishop of Oregon City, Alexander Christie. In 1903 the community was able to move into the first part of the building complex and resume a unified monastic and educational apostolate. More >>