Photo © Tom Kirsch, opacity.us
The history of the Salesian School begins with a man named David Haight, who first built the mansion on the property sometime around 1834-1864 as a private residence. When he passed away in 1876, he was laid to rest in the nearby Haight Mausoleum, which was built for his family in 1872. The property eventually foreclosed in 1922, and languished for some time as it changed hands during the next few years.
In 1925 the Salesian Fathers purchased the property for approximately $61,000 and opened it as a Catholic resident school for boys. The mansion served as an administration building and dining area, and the main school house was constructed in 1931.
On the night of August 9th, 1964, a nine year old boy plummeted to his death after falling 36 feet off the roof. For some reason, the case has only been re-investigated in 2003. The new coroner's observation is that the distance from the boy's body to the wall seems too far to suggest he had simply fallen off the roof. Disputes over the time of death, uncooperative staff, and student records missing in a 1970 fire have all been roadblocks in solving the case of this boy's death.
The school's enrollment eventually declined, although nothing points to the tragic incident being the cause, and the facility was closed in the fall of 1985. It operated as a youth center afterward, until the campus closed in 1991 when the order sold the property. The mansion has been condemned after a collapse on one side, and is slated for demolition in order to build a new library. The large school building is being surveyed for the possibility of re-use.
Other landmarks on the property include a water tower, graveyard, grotto, and an altar built into the landscape.