Treasure Coast Education
1908. It was named St. Anastasia in
honor of McNichol’s wife, Anastasia
But it wasn’t until the Rev. Gabriel
Ruppert arrived and took up residence
on Dec. 4, 1910, that St. Anastasia officially
became a parish. In the midst
of anti-Catholic fervor ignited by
Florida Gov. Sidney Johnston Catts,
who was elected in 1911 on a racist
and anti-Catholic platform, Ruppert
began orchestrating the construction
of Fort Pierce’s first Catholic school. It
was completed in 1914. Father Ruppert
built a solid, fireproof building of two
stories and a basement that still stands
today — vacant and long abandoned
but owned by the city of Fort Pierce —
on Orange Avenue.
Interestingly, the school operated as
a public school, rent-free, based on an
agreement with the St. Lucie County
School Board, from 1919 to 1926.
The school also provided temporary
housing for Catholic families who had
recently moved to the area.
In 1926, the first Dominican sisters arrived
from Adrian, Mich., to teach and
The old St. Anastasia School still stands at Orange Avenue and 10th Street. Completed in 1914, it
operated as housing for Catholics coming to Fort Pierce and as a public school before it opened as the
>> center for Catholic education in the area. It is now owned by the city of Fort Pierce.