Post-War Maryville Faced 'Sink or Swim' More Than Once
Changes in social services forced Maryville to reinvent itself several times
In 1950, the school was renamed Maryville Academy and the campus Maryville, City of Youth. Postwar prosperity decreased the number of residents to about 700 by 1952, and foster homes began to take the place of institutional living. The schools closed by the end of the 1960s. The job of once again reinventing Maryville fell on Father John Smyth, appointed superintendent in 1970 to an organization operating at an enormous deficit. He began fundraising, building residential cottages, and planning to demolish the obsolete buildings from the turn of the century. Soon after the last children moved into the cottage style residences in the 1970, the old buildings were destroyed.
By 1995, the revamped campus held 27 cottages, most holding 18 youths each. In 2002, the 140 resident children included those with severe psychological problems, since they could no longer be housed in psychiatric wards, and two tragic incidents occurred which brought change to Maryville once again. At that time, Maryville was the largest child welfare agency in Illinois, with the vast majority of social work occurring off-campus through numerous facilities throughout Chicagoland. Since then, the campus has become quieter, and more space has been devoted to the Santuario Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Villa saw changes too. At some point, it was converted to an infirmary on the lower floor and a rectory for the priests on the upper floor. The cupola and railings have been removed, and the building is now looking in need of considerable maintenance. Today it serves as a rectory and offices for the Standing Tall Foundation along with other organizations.