Bissell / College Hill


The earliest Catholic church in the area is the Church of the Holy Name. The area around the church was originally the College Farm of St. Louis University. The small chapel of St. Thomas on the farm became the nucleus of the church under organization by the Jesuits. It was established at its present location on East Grand Avenue near Twentieth Street in 1876 by Rev. P.J. Gleason. The building was a brick Gothic structure seating 1000 persons, adjoined by a parochial residence. The parish school was erected about 1885.

The present Romanesque church was dedicated in 1916. It is distinguished by a 125 foot bell tower at its rear and is built of brick with terra cotta trim. The building was constructed during the pastorale of Rev. Christopher Byrne, who later became Bishop of Galveston, Texas.

The Catholic Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help at 20th Street and Linton Avenue was formed in 1873 by German Catholics of the area. The brick Romanesque building was dedicated on May 17, 1874. The parochial school, which met in four basement rooms, was founded in September, 1873. Ten years later, the congrega-tion's growth caused a proposal for erection of a larger church. The new building was consecrated in 1889 after construction at a cost of $50,000. Much of the growth of the parish was due to the work of Rev. A.J. Schilling, whose pastorale lasted from 1875 to 1904. A portion of the parish was removed in 1891 to create the new parish of St. Engelbert.

Beginning as a mission of the Third Baptist Church in 1885, the Water Tower Baptist Church congregation held its first meetings on the third floor of a building at the northeast corner of 20th Street and East Grand Avenue. The debt free church at 2115 East Grand Avenue was dedicated in 1886. Many Baptist families moved into the area and Strodtman Place named for a member of Water Tower Church became known as "Baptist Row". A new Sunday school plant was built in 1927 at a cost of $40,000. It is now a black congregation.

St. Paul's Lutheran Church was organized in 1862 at Lowell in a hall at what is now DeSoto Avenue and Benedict Street. In 1863, it moved into a small frame church which was succeeded in 1873 by a brick church at the northeast corner of Prairie and Hutchinson Avenues. This building is now used as a school for the church which has been located at 2137 East John Avenue since February, 1926.

St. James United Church of Christ at 1505 East College Avenue was organized in 1869 as a branch of Friedens Evangelical Church. A small church was erected at DeSoto and McKissock Avenues in the same year at a cost of $1100. The church adopted the name of St. Jacobi or St. James Evangelical Church. The present site at College and Blair Avenues was purchased in 1886 and the church was dedicated on September 23, 1888. Growth of the Sunday School created a need for larger quarters that was met by a school and community building which was completed in 1930 at a cost of more than $60,000.