Three churches, founded by German residents in Bremen's early years, continue to serve the neighborhood. Holy Trinity congregation; founded in 1848, has a special place in the history of Roman Catholicism in north St. Louis. It has been the mother church for four parishes as the area developed and has been located at Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt Streets since its beginning. Holy Trinity's first church building was dedicated in 1849, an unpretentious one story stone structure on what is now the site of the rectory.
In the fall of 1848, the first parochial school was consecrated adjacent to the church. It had two stories, with classrooms on the first and the rectory upstairs. As the parish grew, additional educational facilities became necessary. A girl's school and convent was completed at Blair and Mallinckrodt in December, 1859. A new school for boys at Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt was consecrated on February 4, 1972. Its first two floors served as classrooms for 300 students, while the third floor was a hall for meetings and social gatherings .
A second church building, erected in the 1860's on the southwest corner of Fourteenth and Mallinckrodt Streets, was demolished in 1890 to make way for the basement of the present church structure. This impressive limestone edifice was designed in a late French Gothic revival style by Joseph Conradi. Completed in 1898, the church has a cruciform plan, 155 feet long by 90 feet wide with finely carved ornament. The interior, with its high ribbed groin vaults, is also done in a late Gothic style. A commanding feature of Holy Trinity Church is its twin spires which rise to a height of 215 feet and are visible from a great distance.
The tornado of 1927 caused severe damage to the rear of the church, destroying the upper parts of the choir and apse, which were restored. A tower-like dome above the crossing of the nave and transepts was also ruined, but was not replaced. The rectory was completed in 1909 and nine years later a new boy's school was erected behind the church.
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest Protestant congregation in the Bremen-Hyde Park area. It was organized on April 26, 1849 by twelve Lutherans of New Bremen, a community then two miles north of the St. Louis city limits. Its first church building at the southwest corner of North Nineteenth and Salisbury Streets was dedicated on May 5, 1850. This was a small one story structure in the Greek Revival style. In the fall of the same year, the church school was opened, with the pastor as teacher. A second, larger church on the same site was dedicated in 1858, with a brick santuary raised above a ground floor of stone.
Beginning with the founding of Ebenezer Lutheran Church in Baden on May 16, 1869, six daughter organizations have been formed from Bethlehem Church.
Growth of membership made a move imperative by 1887, when the present church site, at the northwest corner of Salisbury and Florissant, was purchased. Construction soon began on the church's third home, a large brick structure, which was dedicated on October 29, 1893. Designed by Louis Wessbecher and Charles Hummel, the new building has been in use for less than three months when it was all but destroyed by fire on January 24, 1894.
Rebuilding began immediately and the present edifice was dedicated on April 17, 1895. It is built of red brick with stone trim in the English Gothic style with traceried windows, buttressed walls and towers, and steep slate roofs. It originally had two spires, with the higher one on the east tower, but both were destroyed in the 1927 tornado. The interior, with pews arranged in a semi-circular pattern, was redecorated on the occasion of the church centennial in 1949.
Dedication of the first Bethlehem Lutheran school building, on Nineteenth Street next to the church, occurred in 1872. This building was modernized in 1915, and twelve years later it was severly damaged by the tornado, and was replaced by the school building at 2153 Salisbury Street in 1930.
The third church founded at an early date by German residents of the area is Friedens United Church of Christ at the southwest corner of Nineteenth and Newhouse. It was organized in 1858 as Friedens German Evangelical Church, and the congregation met in the Fairmount Presbyterian Church at Ninth and Penrose Streets. Their first building on the present site was completed in 1861, built of red brick in the Gothic style.
This was replaced in 1907-08 by the present structure, designed by Otto J. Boehmer in the English Perpendicular Gothic style. Its walls are built of over-sized brick with terra cotta trim. It sustained damage in the 1927 tornado, especially to stained glass windows and interior furnishings. After extensive rebuilding, the church was re-dedicated in 1928 and four years later a new altar anc chancel were installed. Friedens Church has an eighty foot corner tower which dominates an ensemble consisting of a parsonage and office, built in 1902, and a Sunday school hall constructed in 1907. They are of Gothic Revival design to harmonize architecturally with the church.
Among other churches of architectural interest in the area is Markus Evangelical Lutheran at Twenty-second and Angelical Organized in 1904, as a daughter church of Bethlehem Lutheran, its building in the Gothic Revival style dates from 1912. New Shiloh Baptist Church, at Blair and Bremen, is built in Romanesque style and was completed in 1894 for the Hyde Park Congregational Church. An interesting example of church architecture is a small frame building on the northwest corner of Blair and Penrose. Originally the home of the Fourth Christian Church, it now houses the New Harmony General Baptist congregation.
Image - Holy Trinity Catholic Church
Image - Bethelehem Lutheran Church