Saint Nicholas, North Side

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Neighborhoods Served:

North Side

Parish History

St. Nicholas, the first Croatian ethnic parish in the United States, was founded in 1894.  This parish was the result of Croatian immigration to the North Side to work in local industry in the late nineteenth century.  In 1894, the local community wrote to Croatia to ask that a priest be sent to Pittsburgh.  In August of 1894, the first Mass of the parish was held in the basement chapel of St. Paul Cathedral. By the fall, a building was purchased on East Ohio Street and converted to a church.  The new church was dedicated on January 27, 1895.

As immigration continued to increase, the church soon became inadequate to meet the needs of the congregation.  In 1899 the congregation was split as to whether to build the new church in Millvale or to remain on the North Side.  When the decision was made to remain on the North Side, the faction that favored moving to Millvale did so and founded St. Nicholas parish, Millvale.

On September 16, 1900, the cornerstone for the new church was laid and on September 8, 1901, the church was dedicated.  In 1920, the church faced a threat from urban renewal.  The city decided to widen East Ohio Street, on which the church was located.  Building owners along the road were given the option to either relocate or to move their building.  Most people decided to sell and to let their buildings be torn down.  The parish, however, decided to move the church.  In April of 1921, the church was lifted on jacks and moved twenty feet back from the existing road.  The move was completed in the fall of 1921.

Although the church has been renovated several times over the years, it still continues to serve the community.  However, it is no longer an independent parish.  With the loss of industry and related population late in the century, the diocese embarked in a program of reorganization and revitalization.  In 1994 St. Nicholas, North Side was merged with St. Nicholas, Millvale to form a new parish, also called St. Nicholas.  St. Nicholas church remained open as a worship site for the new parish.

Photos From the Diocesan Archive:

St. Nicholas, undated
Main altar, undated

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