Saint James, West End

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1853

Close Date:

1994

This parish is presently located at:

Neighborhoods Served:

West End

Parish History

St. James was founded in 1853.  Before the parish was formed, local Catholics had to travel to St. Philip, Crafton or St. Paul Cathedral to attend Mass.  By 1853, the diocese determined that there were enough Catholics in the area to support a parish.  Land was purchased for a church, construction began on the building and a resident pastor was assigned to the parish that year.  Although the building was not completed, the first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Day, 1853.  The completed church was dedicated on June 11, 1854.

As time went on, the congregation continued to grow.  In 1869, a frame addition to the church was built.  Even this eventually proved inadequate.  In 1880, land was purchased and work began on a new church.  The cornerstone of the church was laid in September of 1882 and the new church was dedicated in February of 1884.  The new church was completed just in time as a flood in 1884 made the old church unsafe for occupancy.

The new St. James Church was renovated in 1911 to accommodate the raising of Main Street.  In November of 1927, a gas plant explosion on the North Side caused considerable damage to the church.  The walls and roof were strengthened, the spire removed, the windows replaced, the organ rebuilt and the interior plastered.  In addition, a new floor was installed, a baptistry built and new lights installed.  The repaired church was reopened in December of 1928.  In 1936 the church survived a flood.  Despite these problems, the church continues to stand.  However, the parish itself does not.  Due to the loss of population in the area, St. James was merged with Guardian Angels and St. Martin parishes in 1994 to form a the new Guardian Angels parish.  The church continued to be used by the new parish at first.

In late 2003, an inspection of St. James Church disclosed that the building had severe structural damage that made it unsafe.  Beginning on January 5, 2004, the parish suspended Masses in the church. Faced with a declining congregation and high repair costs to the church, the parish decided to close the building.  A final Mass was celebrated in St. James on May 16, 2004.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. James Church, 1934
Main altar, St. James, 1934
Side altar, St. James, 1934

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