Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lorain's First Catholic Church to be Razed – May 1917

I seem to spend a lot of time on this blog writing about old buildings – especially old buildings that aren't around any more. That's why this item from the Lorain Daily News caught my eye.

It ran in that paper on Saturday, May 5, 1917 and tells the story of the impending demolition of the city's oldest Catholic church building to make way for a new central electric power station for the Lorain County Electric Company.

The church originally had been erected in 1873 at Reid Avenue and Eighth Street as a place for St. Mary's parish to worship. In 1883 it was moved to the rear of the property and replaced by a new building.

Eleven years later the newer building was destroyed by fire, and the original structure was pressed back into service for a year until a new St. Mary's was built in 1895. The old church building was then sold to Anton Schmidt, who moved to the rear of his property on Second Street. There, it was used to store ice.

The property, and thus the old church building as well, changed hands a few times during the ensuing years. Its last owner before being sold to the Lorain County Electric company was A. E. Willis.

I like the fact that 97 years ago the newspaper saw the significance of a historic structure and paid it an appropriate tribute on the front page with a well-researched article.
According to this article on the Morning Journal's website, St. Mary Church was originally forced to merge with Holy Trinity Church on Elyria Avenue as part of Cleveland Catholic Diocese Bishop Lennon's 2009 edict. The merged church was called Mary, Mother of God. The Vatican later overruled the edict and restored the St. Mary church name in 2012 – which was only fitting for Lorain's oldest Catholic Church.


Loraine Ritchey said...

I covered St. Mary's on my blog when it was slated for closure - wish I hadn't helped now due to the pain caused to me personally by that church/priest but for what it is worth

“Three hundred Persons Precipitated Into an Excavation – A Child Trampled to Death- The Town in Mouring”

Although there were a thousand men ready to rush to the rescue , they could render little aid to the persons in the pit….. when assistance finally reached the unfortunate victims , several already had been trampled to death and others had been fatally injured.

This accident happened in 1895 during the dedication of St. Mary’s Church - the same church now slated for closure – the whole article can be found here

Dan Brady said...

Thanks, Loraine! Maybe I will have to go and see how the local papers covered that 1895 tragedy and do a follow up post. There's even more history on this church (the tornado wrecked it and it had to be rebuilt).

Loraine Ritchey said...

yes I covered that too when trying to save the place ... :(