St. Joseph Catholic School was founded on January 17, 1876 by the Daughters of Charity as part of St. Joseph Catholic Church. The parish was organized in 1820 when Mass was first celebrated in a home in Petersburg. In 1872 Pastor Fr. Thomas Wilson felt there was a need for a religious school in the parish. After Bishop Gibbons approved his plan, Fr. Wilson worked on raising the funds and finding a site for the school.
After the funds were raised, a building at 25 South Market Street was purchased for the first school building. Five nuns from the Daughters of Charity arrived to teach at and run the school – Sister Mary Elizabeth Roche (who was the first principal), Sister Loretta Dinkgreve, Sister Gertrude Dolan, Sister Mary Simeon Manot, and Sister Eugenia Reeder.
In the early 20th century the school moved to its current location at 123 Franklin Street when the first school building was built in 1916. The second building at our current location was built in 1956.