Person/Organization: Bapst, John
Father John Bapst, a Jesuit, knew little of America or Maine when he arrived in Old Town in 1853 from Switzerland. He built churches and defended Roman Catholics against Know-Nothing activists, who tarred and feathered the priest in Ellsworth in 1854.
In Maine, like many other states, a newly formed Ku Klux Klan organization began recruiting members in the years just before the United States entered World War I. A message of patriotism and cautions about immigrants and non-Protestants drew many thousands of members into the secret organization in the early 1920s. By the end of the decade, the group was largely gone from Maine.
John Bapst High School was dedicated in September 1928 to meet the expanding needs of Roman Catholic education in the Bangor area. The co-educational school operated until 1980, when the diocese closed it due to decreasing enrollment. Since then, it has been a private school known as John Bapst Memorial High School.