Shaw


Churches

The need for an English speaking parish north of Tower Grove Park resulted in the creation of the church of St. Margaret of Scotland late in 1899. Rev. James O'Brien was given charge and first services were held in a vacant store at the southeast corner of Russell Boulevard and 39th Street. This was used until the present church, at 3864 Flad Avenue, was dedicated on Thanksgiving day in 1907. The parochial school was built in 1911 at 3964 Castleman Avenue, with a new building constructed at 3950 Castleman in 1966. The convent is located at 3867 Cleveland in a building completed in 1956. St. Cronan's parish was founded by Rev. Thomas Ambrose Butler in 1882. He was pastor of St. James Church in Cheltenham at that time and continued to minister to that parish until March, 1884, when he transferred to St. Cronan's. The church is at 4200 Swan Avenue, with its school across the street at 1200 S. Boyle Avenue.

Tower Grove Baptist Church had its origin in a suggestion by Rev. John McCourtney, who felt the need for prayer meetings in the Tower Grove neighborhood. After several such meetings in various homes, the church was organized in the spring of 1890. Rev. F.T. Shore was called as pastor by the eight charter members and three rooms were rented in a house on Newstead Avenue, just north of Norfolk Avenue. A Sunday school with an initial enrollment of 22 was started there. Services were later held in two front rooms of Rev. Shore's house in the 4300 block of Vista Avenue. In the fall of 1892, the church was moved to a hall on the third floor of a building at Tower Grove and Vista Avenues. A lot at 4318-22 Norfolk Avenue was purchased in May 1893. Cornerstone of the first church was laid on the rear of this lot on August 17, 1895. During the pastorale of Rev. F.A. Lowry, which began in 1923, the membership increased from 414 to 2,200, making it the City's second largest Baptist church in 1934. A new church was erected in 1924 at the Norfolk Avenue site and in 1928 the older church building was replaced by a new Sunday school facility. The church's auditorium could seat 1,500 persons, and a major remodeling and enlarging program was completed in the late 1930's.

The church's present location at Tower Grove and Magnolia Avenues was acquired in 1949 with the present Educational building completed in 1954, followed by the recreational building in 1958. These also house the church, which is now one of the largest in the Southern Baptist convention. Another Baptist church of long-standing in the area is Compton Heights Baptist, which was located at Russell and Vandeventer (39th Street) from before 1904 until moving to their present location at 3641 Russell Boulevard about 1915.

Compton Heights Christian Church, first of its denomination in South St. Louis, began in 1891, when it held mission meetings in Anchor Hall at Jefferson and Lafayette. After organizing as a church in 1894, a chapel was built at California and St. Vincent Avenues. It was rebuilt after damage by the 1896 tornado and was enlarged in 1902. In 1930, the church moved into the former B'Nai E1 Hebrew Temple at Spring and Flad. In an effort to find a permanent location, the church purchased the Nicolaus mansion at Grand and Flora Place in 1924. Construction could not begin until building restrictions were changed and the present church at 2149 South Grand was not completed until 1948. An addition to the Sunday school was built in 1962.

Congregation B'Nai E1, the oldest reformed Jewish group west of the Mississippi, moved into their new temple at Spring and Flad Avenues in 1906 from their former location at Eleventh and Chouteau. They occupied the Flad Avenue building until 1930 when they relocated in the former Central Presbyterian Church at Clara and Delmar.

St. Peter's Lutheran Church at 1124 South Kingshighway grew out of a mission school opened by Christ Lutheran Church in a residence at 1424 Old Manchester Road in 1889. A small building was erected for the school near Vista and Swan Avenues in 1890, and was turned over to the newly organized St. Peter's Church in 1895. As the new church prospered, an addition was built and in 1904 a new site was purchased at Newstead and Swan Avenues and the old building was moved there. A new church building on that site was dedicated in September, 1908. While remaining there for nearly twenty years, the church experienced a steady growth. Through the efforts of Rev. A.P. Feddersen, the present church group was built and occupied in May, 1926. A parochial school was discontinued in 1920, but was revived in 1932 through a joint effort with Christ Church.

Reen Memorial English Lutheran Church was an outgrowth from St. Paul's Mission, which was located at Chouteau and Taylor Avenues in 1904. The present church building at 1034 South Kingshighway was erected in 1906, with an addition completed in 1960.

Mount Olive Lutheran Church, which has been located at 4240 Shaw Avenue since before 1940, completed a new school building adjacent to the church in 1963.

The forerunner of the Shaw Avenue M.E. Church, South was established as a mission in a store at 1604 Tower Grove Avenue in 1897. Later, a frame building at Tower Grove and McRee Avenues, formerly the home of a Presbyterian church, was purchased. Here the present congregation was organized as the Tyler Place Methodist Church in January, 1898. During the pastorate of Rev. E. W. Webdell, the church's present site was acquired through the generosity of Samuel Cupples, a great benefactor for the denomination in St. Louis. Soon after, the frame church was moved to the new site, where it was humorously referred to as "the church in the cabbage patch," as it was surrounded by small truck farms. About that time, the present name was adopted. In April, 1906, the present brick church building was completed at a cost of about $30,000. Shaw Avenue Church grew with the neighborhood and by 1934 it had a membership of more than 600.

During the 1890's, the area between Grand Avenue and Shaw's Garden was in course of residential development. The principal subdivision there was Tyler Place, named for Mary L. Tyler, former owner of the tract. Continued growth brought the need for a Presbyterian Church, so that a meeting was held at the home of Albert Wenzlick at 3630 Flad Avenues, early in 1896. A Sunday school was organized with the aid of W.H. Herrick, a missionary and Doctor John B. Brandt, the church's first pastor. Initial sessions were held in the old Obear Mansion, on Grand near Lafayette, in April 1896. After the tornado of May 27, 19896, the Sunday school was forced to leave as the mansion was needed to house homeless refugees. Dr. Brandt was determined to continue the project and rented a house at 3809 Flad Avenue for that purpose. Tyler Place Church was organized on December 14, 1896, with fifty charter members. In a move to obtain a permanent home for the church, a gift of $18,00 was secured from the First Presbyterian Church and the present site at Russell and Spring Avenues was acquired. First services in the new building were held on June 9, 1901. Since the church was built of limestone on a foundation of solid rock, it was necessary to blast out a basement for additional space in 1927. The Sunday school building was enlarged in 1910 and the continued growth of Tyler Place Church made possible the creation of two missions. These were the Southampton Presbyterian Church and the Brandt Memorial Chapel. In 1934, the church had over 1,400 members and a Sunday school enrollment of about 1,000. The Presbytery of St. Louis maintains offices and a rehabilitation center at 2236 Tower Grove Avenue. Gibson Heights United Presbyterian Church, at 1075 South Taylor Avenue, was formed in 1902 when a large group left the Grand Avenue United Church to form a new church near Forest Park.

Wagoner Memorial United Methodist Church has been located at 1038 South Taylor Avenue since 1946, following a move from its former location at 1527 Wagoner Place in North St. Louis.

Mount Calvary Episcopal Church was organized on September 6, 1870, in the Compton Hill Mission school house, a small frame building on Henrietta Street, north of Lafayette Avenue. A lot at the head of Lafayette at Grand Avenue, 175 by 400 feet in size, was donated as a church site by Henry Shawl A church costing $12,000 was built there, largely through the generosity of George D. Appleton. The building, designed by C.B. Clark, was consecrated in 1871. By 1877, the building was outgrown and a new site was purchased at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Lafayette Avenues. A chapel was built there in 1878, followed by a church in 1882, which was unroofed by the tornado in 1896. Rev. Philip W. Fauntleroy, then rector, directed rebuilding of the church. When Rev. Fauntleroy left in 1911, there was $30,000 in the church treasury. This enabled the purchase of a church site at 3661 DeTonty Street, where a new church was consecrated in February, 1912, and the parish was free of debt. Mount Calvary Church experienced financial difficulties in the 1920's and was virtually reduced to the status of a mission by 1933. After some success' the church was disbanded and its former site is now a part of the right-of-way of I-44. Other churches in the area include the Light House Free Methodist at 4269 Norfolk Avenue and the Mount Sinai Baptist at 3800 Blaine Avenue, in a former Church of Christ building.