St. Roch's Roman Catholic Church at 6058 Waterman Boulevard was founded as a second generation parish from St. Ann's in Normandy. As the area to its south grew in population, St. Ann's was instrumental in the establishment of two churches in that area, St. Rose of Lima in 1884 and All Saints in University City in 1902. With the development of the Kingsbury area after the World's Fair, it was decided that a church was needed in that vicinity. The parish of St. Roch's was formed in 1911 through the efforts of Rev. Long, pastor of All Saints Church. It took territory from both All Saints and St. Rose's parishes. After approval by Archbishop Glennon, the present site was purchased for $55.00 a front foot in June, 1911. An indication of property values in the area is shown by the fact that soon after the purchase, a real estate firm offered $65.00 per foot for the lot as a site for an apartment house. This was turned down and the Rev. George P. Kuhlman, the church's first pastor, began building on the site during the summer of 1911. Services were temporarily held in a store building at 6008 Kingsbury.
St. Roch's Church is one of the few in the city dedicated to a sainted layman. The name was chosen by bidding in a contest devised by Father Kuhlman and held in the old Park Theater. By 1912, services were held in a chapel in the completed school and three years later the rectory was occupied. Cornerstone ceremonies for the present church occurred on September 18, 1921, and the finished structure was dedicated on November 22, 1922. St. Roch's parish experienced a remarkable growth in population, beginning with only 18 families and soon exceeding 800. The church was designed in the Tudor Gothic style with a tall slender tower. It is rich in profusion of ornamentation and was built at a cost of $225,000. A new parochial school annex and gymnasium was erected in 1964 at 6030 Waterman Boulevard.
Grace Methodist Church at 6199 Waterman at the corner of Skinker, was organized in 1888 as the South Vandeventer branch of the Union Methodist Church. Union Methodist, then located on "Piety Hill" at Garrison and Lucas Avenues, felt the need for a colony that would be convenient for members who were moving further west. The church trustees apparently foreseeing the future importance of Lindell Boulevard, purchased a site at the southwest corner of Lindell and Newstead Avenue. A chapel was occupied there in 1892, by the newly named Lindell Avenue M.E. Church with about 100 members. In 1897, the church structure was completed at the Lindell site after designs by architect Theodore Carl Link. This building served the congregation until 1913, when it was decided that another westward move by the church was necessary. The present site was donated by former Lieutenant Governor Edwin O. Stanard, a church member, who gave it with the requirement that the church be relocated there and be free of debt. Therefore, all financial arrangements were made before the work began. The old church building was dismantled and after precise planning was re-erected at the new location. Demolition began in March, 1913, and the rebuilt edifice was dedicated on October 11, 1914. The church is notable for its fine stained glass windows and for the delicate bas-reliefs on the proscenium arch above the sanctuary.
As a result of the move. the new name of Grace M.E. Church was chosen and was known thereby until the Episconal title was dropped with the unification of the three branches of Methodisim. The building has undergone renovations in 1930 and 1953, a new chapel was added in 1955 and air-conditioning was installed in 1959. During the 1960's, consideration was given to another westward move, but the church decided to remain at its present location.
On March 29, 1877, thirty-nine members, most of whom came from the Third Baptist Church organized the Garrison Avenue Baptist Church. This church was the forerunner of the Delmar Baptist, now located at Skinker and Washington. Its first building was erected on Garrison Avenue between Lucas and Morgan and was dedicated on April 8, 1877. Two years later it became necessary to vacate the chapel's leased site, so the building was removed to Compton Avenue and Morgan Street. It required two weeks to make the move of two blocks, during which time services were held in the building while it was on the street. This caused it to be called "The Church on Wheels." An interesting comparison with present day costs can be realized, since the entire building moving operation then cost only $500.
Another move was made in 1884, when the church occupied a new home at Delmar Boulevard and Spring at which time the present name was adopted. In 1886, a move was made to disband the Delmar Church because of its proximity to the recently located Third Baptist at Grand and Washington. However, rather than disband, the church moved again. This time to Delmar and Pendleton, where services began in 1892. The church's present site was purchased in 1916, when the Pendleton Avenue building was sold to the First Christian Church. Because of delays occasioned by World War I, the new building was not completed until June, 1919. During the interim, services were held at various places including a gymnasium and a dancing school auditorium. Joint services also were held with Immanuel Baptist at 5850 Cates Avenue.
United Hebrew Temple at 225 South Skinker Boulevard is the oldest Jewish congregation west of the Mississippi, dating back to 1837. After meeting at various downtown locations, the congregation occupied a temple at 21st and Olive Streets in 1880. They remained there until 1903, when they purchased the former Mount Cabanne Christian Church at Kingshighway and Enright. This building was converted into a temple and a community hall was added. The congregation grew rapidly under the leadership of Rabbi Samuel Thurman and larger quarters became necessary by the mid 1920's. The present temple, dedicated in 1927, was the work of architects Leo F. Abrams and Maritz and Young. Professor Gabriel Ferrand of Washington University was associate architect. Designed in the Graeco-Byzantine style, the temple is distinguished by its dome and monumental facade. The richly decorated auditorium, seating 2200 persons, makes the temple one of the largest in the nation. The Samuel Thurman Educational Hall was added in 1957.
In 1926, the former Washington-Compton Presbyterian Church moved into its new building at 201 South Skinker Boulevard. At that time the present name of Memorial Presbyterian Church was adopted. First services were held in its chapel unit on June 13, 1926. The $570,000 church building was designed in Early English Gothic style by the late Albert B. Groves and was completed by Aegerter and Bailey. Dedicated on December 6, 1931, the church has outer walls of native limestone and its auditorium has woodwork of fumed oak. There are 40 rooms for educational use in addition to the chapel. This church's local endeavors have included the Markham Memorial Church, Mizpah Mission and Berea Presbyterian Church, as well as the Brookes Bible Institute. i
The Protestant Episcopal church for this area is that of St. Michael and St. George at 6345 Wydown Boulevard. It was formed through a merger of the original church at this location St. Michael and All Angels, and St. George's Church in 1928. St. Michael's Church was conceived by Bishop Daniel Tuttle, who foresaw the need for a new parish in the area west of Forest Park. It met for the first time in 1912 at Graham Chapel of Washington University, loaned as a temporary place of worship. Cornerstone of the new church was laid in the spring of 1913 and by the following Christmas, the church, which comprises the eastern portion of the present edifice, was debt free and consecrated. Original architect was James P. Jamieson, while subsequent additions were the work of Klipstein and Rathmann. These were made following the merger and were made necessary by growth of the original parish as well as to accommodate the new congregation. The red granite buildings are all done in the English Tudor style. Uniting the church and parish buildings is a bell tower at the entrance, while a smaller tower stands over the crossing of the transepts with the nave. It occupies an attractive location on a triangular site. An interesting feature of the church is its Commons Room, which is modeled after the House of Commons in England.A nearby neighbor is the Eighth Church of Christ Scientist at 6200 Wydown Boulevard, which was built during the late 1920's.
Image - Grace methodist Church
Image - Delmar Baptist Church
Image - United Hebrew Temple