Saint Leo, North Side

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1888

Close Date:

1993

This parish is presently located at:

Neighborhoods Served:

North Side
Brighton Heights

Parish History

St. Leo was established as a German parish in 1888.  The origin of the parish can be traced to the growth of German immigration into the Manchester and Woods Run district.  At first these Germans attended St. Joseph, Manchester.  However, at that time traveling to either St. Joseph or St. Mary, North Side was difficult for the residents of the Woods Run district.  In addition, the increased population began to outgrow the existing St. Joseph and St. Mary Churches.  On April 1, 1888, a group of local German Catholics met to discuss the possibility of establishing a new parish.  A committee found land suitable for a church and on April 16, 1888, the bishop gave his permission for them to buy the land.

On August 6, 1888, the plans for the new church were approved and a few days later a pastor was assigned to the new parish.  The first Mass of the new parish was celebrated in Schwerd's Hall in the fall of 1888.  Work on the new church advanced rapidly and on October 7, 1888, the cornerstone of a combined church and school building was laid.  The completion date of the building has not been recorded, but the school opened in 1889.  The first floor served as the school and the upper floor contained the church. 

By the turn of the century, the congregation had outgrown its church.  Work on a new church began in 1906.  The cornerstone was laid on August 12, 1906.  Unfortunately, the parish could only complete the basement of the building due to the congregation losing $7,000 in the failure of the Enterprise National Bank.  This basement church was used by the congregation until August 5, 1917, when the completed superstructure was dedicated.  The original church was converted to classrooms and the building served the parish until 1947 when it was torn down to make room for a new school.

The loss of population in the North Side in last half of the twentieth century led to the suppression of the parish.  In 1993, St. Leo merged with two other parishes and a mission church to form the new Risen Lord parish.  At first St. Leo Church remained open and served the new parish.  However, in 1998, the parish conducted a study to determine whether they needed to retain three churches.  The study determined that they did not and in 1999 St. Leo Church closed.  The church was sold in November of 2000 and razed in March of 2001.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

First St. Leo Church after it was converted to a school, 1932
Second St. Leo Church, 1932
Interior of second church, 1932

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