Regina Coeli, North Side
This parish is presently located at:
Regina Coeli was founded in 1906 as an Italian parish. The origin of the parish can be traced to the movement of Italian residents from the Uptown section of Pittsburgh to the North Side (then the City of Allegheny). The movement was in response to the growth of industry in the Manchester section of the North Side. The migrating Italians were members of St. Peter parish, Uptown and, after they moved, they remained members of that parish. However, the distance involved made it difficult for them to attend religious services, so, beginning in September of 1904, the bishop sent an Italian priest to attend the growing Italian community. The pastor of St. Peter, North Side, offered the basement of his church for Mass for the Italians. However, since most of the Italians lived in Manchester, this arrangement soon proved unsatisfactory.
May 27, 1906, can be considered the start of the parish. On that day, a mission was opened in Chartiers St. in rented space. This space was used to celebrate Mass for the next year. In April of 1907 the parish purchased property and quickly built a small church. This church was enlarged in 1914 and rededicated on May 14, 1914. This church served the community until December 15, 1932, when it was destroyed by fire. While construction of a new church took place, Mass was celebrated in the Hippodrome Theater.
In October of 1933, the cornerstone of the new church was laid. The church was not completed, however. Only the basement portion of the building was finished and Mass was celebrated there. Not until April 26, 1947, did work on the superstructure of the church begin. Work was completed two years later and the completed church was dedicated on July 10, 1949.
The parish suffered a severe body blow in 1961, when the Urban Redevelopment Authority demolished 164 acres of residential and business property to make room for a highway and industrial park. This cost the parish many families. Additional families joined the general exodus from the city to the suburbs. For a time the parish was able to stay afloat due to former parishioners now living in the suburbs coming back to Regina Coeli to attend services. Eventually, however, the congregation grew too small to support the parish. In 1992, the Parish Council voted to shut down the church. The last Mass in the parish was celebrated on June 28, 1992. The church was sold shortly afterwards.