Before the turn of the century, Catholics in the North Platte valley were ministered to by priests from Sidney, NE and from Cheyenne, Wyo. At that time, Scottsbluff was one of 12 missions served by Sidney St. Patrick’s Father Devane. It was under this supervision that the first church, known at St. John’s was built in 1903.
Scottsbluff continued as a mission until Oct. 5, 1912 when it was established as a parish by Bishop Richard Scannell of Omaha. Missions were Mitchell, Bridgeport, Lisco and Oshkosh. Fr. T.J. O’Byrne was appointed the first pastor. Prior to the appointment of Fr. O’Byrne, Catholics of Scottsbluff had purchased lots at the corner of Twentieth Street and First Avenue, considering this an ideal location for a new church and rectory. Here a rectory was built in 1914. Later, however, when plans for a new church were being made, a tract on the ‘northern outskirts’ of the city at Twenty-third Street and Third Avenue was donated by William Franks of Grand Island. The earlier property, with the exception of the rectory, was sold to help pay for the new church. The cornerstone of the present St. Agnes Church was laid in July 1917, and the church was dedicated in April 1919.
On May 1, 1919, Father Timothy T. Molony was appointed to succeed Father O’Byrne. Under Father Molony’s leadership, a large debt was retired and in 1955, St. Agnes Grade School was built.
In the summer of 1955, the outer structure, basement and main floor classrooms for St. Agnes School were completed. Classes for grades one through three began on September 6, 1955 with an enrollment of 89 students. Only four classrooms on the main floor were occupied while construction continued on the second floor rooms.
Each year following 1955, another grade was added until September 1960, there were grades one through eight with a total enrollment of 247 students, eight full time teachers and the services of a band director. All eight grades continued until the fall of 1968, when the cost of maintaining the two upper grades become prohibitive for St. Agnes Parish and grades seven and eight were discontinued.
In 1996, during the pastorate of Father James Whalen, the gymnasium was added to the original structure of the school. In the early 1960’s and after the gym was built, St. Agnes sported winning basketball teams from grades five through seven and eight.
1980 marked the beginning of kindergarten at St. Agnes. With the incorporation of the middle school system in the city of Scottsbluff in the fall of 1987, St. Agnes discontinued the sixth grade so that St. Agnes students would transition into the Middle School along with the other public school children.
In 2010, St. Agnes School incorporated a successful Pre-School into tthe academic program. Today, St. Agnes remains a leader in innovative teaching and has moved ahead with changes in methods of teaching and in curriculum. The school operates under the supervision of the State of Nebraska and the Diocese of Grand Island.
Pastors of St. Agnes Church and School: Rev. T.J. O’Byrne (1912-1919), Rev. Timothy P. Molony (1919-1958), Rev. James Whalen (1959-1979), Rev. Walter Phelan (1979-1972), Rev. Donald O’Brien (1972-1981), Rev. Robert Karnish (1981-1988), Rev. Charles Torpey (1998-1996), Rev. James O’Kane (1996-2003), Rev. Donald Buhrman (2003-2009) and Rev. Vincent L. Parsons (2009-Current).