Saint Martin, West End

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Additional Information:

Open Date:

1869

Close Date:

1994

This parish is presently located at:

Neighborhoods Served:

West End

Parish History

St. Martin was founded as a German parish in 1869.  The parish began with a meeting of local Germans called on January 18, 1869, to form a new parish.  A committee petitioned the bishop on February 15, 1869, for permission to form a parish.  The permission was granted on March 19, 1869.  On April 21, 1869, land for the church was purchased.  The cornerstone of the church was laid on August 15, 1869, and the completed church was dedicated on May 1, 1870.

As the population of the West End grew, it was discovered that the location chosen for the church was not convenient for the majority of parishioners.  On October 12, 1885, additional land was purchased and on September 16, 1888, the cornerstone for a combined church and school building was laid.  The completed building was dedicated on November 24, 1889.

Although discussions were held several times over the years of replacing the church, the building remained in operation until the late 1950's.  As a result of a fire in a Chicago parochial school, the City launched an inspection of all Catholic schools in Pittsburgh.  On December 11, 1958, the city reported that the church/school building was no longer safe.  They also recommended that, due to the age of the building, it be replaced.  The diocese and parish began a search for alternative property but could not find anything suitable.  The parish, working with the diocese, made arrangements for the school students to attend classes at Canevin High School and for Mass to be celebrated in the St. James activities hall.  On January 22, 1960, the last classes were held in the school and on January 31, the last Mass was celebrated.  On April 6, the building caught fire.  The next day demolition of the building began.

Mass continued to be celebrated at St. James while construction of the new school and convent continued.  Beginning on September 10, 1961, Mass was moved from St. James to the school's auditorium. During the mid-1960's, the status of the church was changed from a German church to a territorial parish.

After almost a decade, work began on a new church.  Ground was broken on April 4, 1971.  The completed church was dedicated on October 28, 1972.

As the rise of population in the area in the mid nineteenth century led to the creation of the parish, the loss of population in the late twentieth century led to its suppression.  In 1994, St. Martin was merged with two other parishes to form the new Guardian Angels parish.  St. Martin church remains open and serves the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Martin combined church and school, 1932
Altar of St. Martin church, 1932

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