Between 1800 and 1864 the pioneer local schools were private in the sense that they were conducted in the homes of the parents or in some vacant building in the community. These schools were supported financially by the “subscribers” and not by public expense.
One such subscriber school for Catholic students was located on what is now Columbus Field in 1810 and subsequently in the 1850s was used as an office by Dr. Alexander McIntosh.

In 1817, George, Earl of Dalhousie, Governor of Nova Scotia, issued a license, authorizing Neil McKinnon to keep school at Williams Point in the County of Sydney (Antigonish), for the instruction of reading, writing and arithmetic. This document relieved Neil McKinnon of certain penalties imposed on Catholics by The Penal Laws. The Penal Laws from 1533 to 1827 prohibited Catholics from attending or teaching school. That Williams Point school was the first school attended by Colin Francis McKinnon, future Bishop of the Diocese and founder of St. F. X. University.

Bishop William Fraser established a school on this site in 1827 which lasted until 1839. In 1841 the Antigonish Catholics opened an Academy, which lasted through 1849 when it became a Grammar School in the 1850s.

On June 29,1853 Bishop Colin McKinnon purchased a 2 acre property next to this cemetery for a site to relocate St. F. X. College from Arichat to Antigonish. By July 1854 construction was underway, for the new College building, at the corner of Main and College Streets. It was a two story building with a basement and six large classrooms, provided with maps, blackboards, globes, etc. The youngest scholars were taught in the basement, the older ones on the ground floor and the college students on the upper story.

St. Francis Xavier College formerly opened on this site September 18, 1855 at the corner of Main and College Streets in the newly constructed college and public school building.

By 1856 this school building accommodated twenty three female students ranging in age from six to eighteen years, as well as ninety three male students registered in elementary, high school, college courses and seminarians.

In 1865 St. F. X. students moved from this building to the present campus. The St. F. X. building was then converted into a public school and named “The Main Street School”.

After St. Ninian Cathedral was completed the old Main Street Church was remodeled and converted into “The New Main Street School” in 1881. By 1883 there were 292 pupils in attendance. Pupils attended from Town and nearby areas within walking distance. In 1883 Catholic co-education in Antigonish Town ended when Mount Saint Bernard Convent School opened for female students.

The former St. F. X. building was sold to the Government of Canada in 1882. It was converted into a post office and Government offices. Later a new Brick building was built in front of the old St. F. X. building which is now the Town hall.

On November 1917 the students left the “Main Street School” and marched triumphantly to their new quarters in the new Morrison School on Cathedral Hill.