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St. Joseph Church

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history

Description: One typed page including photograph; a brief history of St. Joseph Church, Terre Haute's original Catholic parish.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown people and events that have shaped our history.St. Joseph Churcherre Haute's original Catholic parish, St. Joseph Church, was founded in early 1837, shortly after Simon Gabriel Brut, bishop of the Vincennes diocese, acquired a lot on the west side of South Fifth Street from Lucius H. Scott and Capt. James Wasson. Nearly 164 years later, the city's "cradle of Catholicism" endures in the attractive second structure erected on the lot, dedicated about 89 years ago. In October 1838 Rev. Stanislaus Buteaux conducted services in the first church raised there, a modest structure with 48 pews; however, the building was not officially dedicated until July 26, 1840. The founding of the parish is irrevocably linked to Susan (Andrews) Williams -- wife of William W. Williams, brother of Chauncey Rose's brother-inlaw Israel Williams -- reputed to be the community's first Catholic. In 1842, Rev. Simon Petit Lalumiere became the first resident pastor. Under Lalumiere's guidance, the parish expanded rapidly. The "Old Brick School," the four-room subscription school built in the early 1830s immediately south of the church, was acquired by the parish. It was opened Jan. 2, 1849, as St. Vincent's Academy, a girls' school with 28 pupils under the auspices of the Sisters of Providence. The name was later changed to St. Joseph Academy. In 1853 a rectory was built on the north side of the church and the church was enlarged. By May 26, 1857 -- the day Father Lalumiere died -- the congregation had swelled to 1500 members. The esteemed priest was purportedly buried beneath the church's sanctuary. Between 1857 and 1876, St. Joseph's was managed successively by the Jesuit, Benedictine and Franciscan orders. In 1866, under Benedictine Father John B. Chasse, the church was expanded to include a vestibule, a tower and a steeple. In 1873 St. Joseph Academy was relocated to the former Griswold mansion at Fifth and Crawford streets, allowing the Franciscans to open St. Bonaventure Lyceum for boys in the building at Fifth and Walnut. The boys' school lasted only three years and St. Joseph Academy was reopened at Fifth and Walnut. The St. Joseph Male Academy building, which still exists, was erected at the southwest corner of Fifth and Ohio streets in 1888 and a friary was built in 1894. The school later became coeducational. Plans for a new church were formulated by Father Camillius Eichenlaub several years before construction began on Aug. 8, 1910. Terre Haute architect Jupiter G. Vrydagh designed the building, which cost -- not including its extensive frescoing, stained glass or interior fixtures -- $45,666.75. It was dedicated May 5, 1912. A Jan. 9, 1934, fire blamed on defective wiring caused considerable damage. Bishop Joseph Ritter rededicated the renovated church on Dec. 9, 1934. St. Joseph's School was closed in 1957.TTERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate published: Jan. 11, 2001Filename: St. Joseph Church profile
Origin: 2001-01-10
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Churches
Catholic churches
Religious facilities
Religious education

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