A hill top site northwest of the present intersection of Holly Hills and Pennsylvania Avenues was set aside for church purposes in 1767 by Carondelet's founder, Clement DeLore de Treget. The first church erected there was a log chapel dedicated to St. Francis Xavier in 1775. Two succeeding churches, bearing the name of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and St. Joseph of the Angels were erected on this site. The first of these, built in 1819, was described as a "modest hut of rough boards." The second church was a stone structure which was completed in 1835. In 1859, the name of the parish, which was founded in 1824, was changed to St. Mary and St. Joseph and a new brick church was erected. It was situated on a site north of that of the earlier structures. The corner stone of the present church of St. Mary and St. Joseph at 6304 Minnesota Avenue, was laid in September, 1940. Adjoining the church is the parochial school which was constructed in 1926.
St. Boniface Church at Michigan Avenue and Schirmer Street was founded in 1860 as the first German Catholic parish in Carondelet. The building, which was designed by Thomas W. Brady in the Romanesque style, has two 100 foot towers flanking its entrance. The towers were completed in 1868 and 1890 respectively. The parochial school, which was founded in January, 1860, now occupies a building which was finished in 1949.
St. Columbkille's Church at 8202 Michigan Avenue was organized in 1872 to serve Irish iron workers of the nearby Vulcan Iron Works. The building was dedicated in March, 1873. Its pastor, Father Michael O'Reilly was called a "militant defender of the Church" bnecause of his defense of his parishioners against slurs of character. Before plans for a larger church were consummated, the iron works closed down and the parish population dwindled. The church was razed in 1952, at which time the parish was discontinued.
The oldest religious institution in Carondelet is the Convent of the Sisters of St. Joseph at 6400 Minnesota Avenue. The Sisters came to St. Louis in 1836 at the invitation of Bishop Rosati. In that same year they established schools in Carondelet and Cahokia. The latter school was abandoned following damage by the flood of 1844.
The Order's first novitiate in Carondelet was founded on September 12, 1836, in a log cabin that had been built three years before as an orphanage. This orphanage later moved to St. Louis. In the school at Carondelet, also held in a log cabin, the Sisters gave instructions in French and English to girls between the ages of 6 to 18. In 1839, by arrangement with the School Commissioners of Carondelet, the Sisters were paid an annual salary of $375 to instruct the children. This continued until 1351 when a public school system was established.
The first brick building of St. Joseph's Academy was built in 1841 on grounds given to the sisters by Bryan Mullanphy. Part oE this building and the old log cabin were destroyed by fire in 1858 when only the north wing of the structure was saved. Other buildings were subsequently added to the Academy and convent to complete the group as it exists today. In 1860 the convent was made the national Mother house of the Order. In 1883, a new wing was built for the novitiate, and in 1885, a residence hall was built for the Sisters who taught in city parochial schools. Saint Joseph's Academy was operated at Carondelet until 1926 when it was relocated at the newly completed Fontbonne College campus at Wydown and Big Bend Boulevards.
The Carondelet Baptist Church was organized as the First Baptist Church of Carondelet in 1867. Its first building was dedicated in December, 1872, at Fifth and Taylor Streets in Carondelet. In 1874, a colony called the Welsh Mission or Second Baptist Church was formed by some members of the First Church. This mission flourished for two years and then its members returned to the parent church. The old church served until 1928 when it was damaged by fire, while the present building was under construction. Until the new church was completed on November 25, 1928, services were held at the Y.M.C.A. and other churches. The new church at Virginia and Robert Avenues was erected at a cost of $40,000. A new school building and a gymnasium were constructed adjacent to the church in 1954.
The Dover Place Christian Church, which is the only one of its denomination in Carondelet, was formed at a meeting at a home at 510 Kansas Street in 1895. After a revival meeting at the Carondelet Baptist Church, the group rented the old Temperance Hall at Minnesota and Robert Avenues, where they were organized as the Carondelet Christian Church in 1896. In the following year, they rented the former German Methodist Church at Pennsylvania Avenue and Upton Street, and used the location for four years. A former high school building at 6801 Virginia Avenue was then purchased as the church's next home in 1901. By 1907, the congregation doubled in size and the present site at Dover Place and Alabama Avenue was acquired. A small church was opened there on October 25, 1907, at which time the name was changed to Dover Place Christian Church. An educational annex was added in 1909. By 1932, growth of the church necessitated the launching of a building program. The present Gothic church, designed by Theodore Steinmeyer, was dedicated on December 17, 1933. In appearance it harmonizes with the adjoining older unit and has an auditorium seating 350 persons.
The Carondelet United Church of Christ at 7423 Michigan Avenue was founded as the Carondelet German Evangelical Church in 1869 by Rev. John Will. A brick school building at Michigan and Koeln was completed in 1870. The present church building was erected in 1871, at a cost of $4,500. A parsonage was built north of the church in 1872. This structure, after several alterations, was razed in 1966 to make way for the new Christian Education building. In 1888, the old school building was sold and a new one erected at the southwest corner of the church grounds. With the opening of nearby public schools, the parochial school was closed in 1913. A church hall building was completed in 1926, at a cost of $36,000.
One of the black churches in Carondelet is the Corinthian Baptist which was originally located at Steins and Alabama as early as 1871. It is presently located at 6326 Colorado Avenue near Interstate Highway 55. The only Lutheran Church in Carondelet is that of St. Trinity, which was organized in 1859. Its first church building was a two story brick building on the west side of Sixth Street (now Vermont Avenue) between Robert Avenue and Koeln Street. In 1872, the present church was erected across the street from the first structure, at what is now 7404 Vermont Avenue. The brick Gothic edifice was 45 by 100 feet in size and could seat 600 persons. The church's parochial school is located at 517 Koeln Street.
Methodism had its inception in Carondelet in 1856 at the instigation of Rev. Dr. David R. McAnally, Frank C. Carter and John C. Bull. A small Presbyterian church stood on the present Haven Street site at that time and its use was tendered to the Methodist by [leery T. Blow of the Presbyterian congregation. Accepting the invitation, Dr. McAnally held services there for a year. In the meantime, the Methodists had purchased the eastern half of two blocks on the west side of Virginia Avenue between Haven Street and Loughborough Avenue. A small church was erected at the southwest corner of Virginia and Haven in 1857, and was named the First M.E. Church South, of Carondelet. In two years, the church was very overcrowded, but before plans for a new building could be prepared, the church lost members due to a schism in the congregation during the Civil War.
After the War, the Haven Street Church entered into missionary work, establishing colonies at the "coal diggins", a mining settlement southwest of Tower Grove Park and at Columbia, Illinois. Establishment of new blast furnaces and a rolling mill in Carondelet in 1868 brought new Methodist families to the part of town near the river and the founding of a church mission there. A frame church was erected in the area in 1871, but had to be abandoned in a depression in the late 1870's. The old Haven Church was razed in 1903 to make way for the present structure which was dedicated on March 13, 1904. The church has since been renamed as the Mellow Memorial Church in honor of the founder of the Liberty Foundry. Zion German Methodist Church was originally at Virginia Avenue and Koeln Street.
A building which was built in 1869 as a city market by the City of Carondelet is now the only African Methodist Episcopal Church in the community. The City of St. Louis acquired title to the structure when Carondelet was annexed in 1870. Ten years later, the City sold the building at the northeast corner of Minnesota Avenue and Bowen Street, to the Carondelet African Methodist Episcopal Church for $600. The date of the church's organization is unknown, however, in 1880, it had 120 members. The building was remodeled for church use and was named in honor of an early A.M.E. bishop, William Paul Quinn. The chapel's membership has dwindled, but Quinn Chapel enjoys the recent distinction of being placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The first black Methodist church in Carondelet was St. John's Methodist, which was built in 1869.
The earliest Protestant Church in Carondelet was the Carondelet Presbyterian which had its beginning in 1849 in response to the need for a place of worship. Its first meetings were held in a vacant room in the home of General Madison Miller at the foot of Bowen Street, where a Sunday school was organized. Later the group met in a log cabin just north of the Bowen Street house. After the present church site at 6116 Michigan Avenue was donated by August A. Blumenthal, a $1,500 building was erected there. The church was organized there on June 2, 1850 by Rev. Robert S. Finley.
Construction began on a new church on the present site in 1859, after razing of the older building. Work was delayed by the Civil War and services were held in the City Hall and the Odd Fellows Hall until the basement of the new structure was occupied in 1863. This brick building was completed after the War and was used for about thirty years, it is now used as a Sunday School. The Hope Mission Chapel at Third and Taylor Streets in Carondelet was an offshort of the Carondelet Church. In 1883, it had a congregation of 600 persons and 420 pupils in its Sunday school.
The present stone church was built next to the older structure in 1896, at a cost of $15,000. Its indebtedness was cleared by 1906, and later an educational unit was erected and $12,500 in improvements were made. In 1958, the church's name became Carondelet-Markham Memorial Presbyterian Church, following a merger. Markham Church at 1614 Menard Street had been organized in 1901 and had lost many members due to a changing neighborhood and highway construction.
St. Paul's Protestant Episcopal Church was founded in 1868 and held services in rented quarters until the church was completed in 1870. The church was located on Third Street near Lafayette in Carondelet and was erected at a cost of $5,000. In 1882, its congregation had 75 communicants and the Sunday School had three teachers and 60 pupils. The church's present address is 6518 Michigan Avenue. An interesting fact about this church is the location of a historic point in its front yard. This point is the southeast corner of the old Carondelet Common Fields, which is marked by a stone set late in the eighteenth century. It was also the point of beginning of the original survey of the Spanish grant to the inhabitants of the Village of Carondelet.