From: History of Holy Trinity Parish, published in the Parish Messenger (Holy Trinity) by Francis L. Auer, ci. 1930s.
During the month of January, 1851, Father X. Weninger, S.J., conducted the first mission at Holy Trinity, and it was a very effective on. Many fallen-away Catholics were brought back to the Church. It is recorded that about 700 persons approached the Holy Table on the closing day of the Mission.
Father Weninger also set down an example of the mission’s good work, “How well the Catholic Consciousness in the parish received new strength through the Mission can be seen in the following incident.” Then he goes on to relate that a certain man who from his childhood, over thirty years, had never attended Mass or received the Sacraments, to the edification of the whole parish, was present not only at the General Communion of the Men, but also brought his five children, ranging from two to ten years of age to Church to be baptized.
Also deserving of note is a wonderful occurrence, that, according to Father Weninger, took place during the solemn erection of the Mission Cross. As the cross was being erected, cannon shots were fired on the outside. One of the shots, he said, was so violent that the whole cannon exploded, completely demolishing it, casting its pieces far and wide, so that nothing of the cannon remained on the spot in which it stood. Sixty people stood about, when the accident occurred, and the remarkable thing was that no one was killed, nor even injured... [illegible] wonderful providence and protection of Almighty God. Half a year later, Father Weninger said that while he was in Green Bay, Wis., 1000 miles from St. Louis, he heard the people there speaking of that occurrence, and asking him for more information about that remarkable and miraculous occurrence.
Concerning the Solemn Closing of his mission, Father Weninger said that all the members of the Parish were happy and glad to attend the Mission and he said that an evidence of this sentiment of theirs was seen especially at its solemn closing, then the festively adorned mission cross was carried in procession, in the same manner as was done at its erection—with music and mid the thunder of cannon shots. It is also interesting to note that the cannon shots. It is also interesting to note that the cannon shots at this occasion were so frequent, so numerous and so loud that a radical paper of St. Louis of that time wrote that the people of St. Louis heard and felt so many cannon shots coming from the direction of New Bremen, that they believed that the New Bremen people were moving hostily against St. Louis, in order to take it by storm.
In the month of April, 1851, Father John Anselm, the Pastor, established the Arch-Confraternity of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in our Parish.
In the course of the Summer of 1851 the Parish bought a plot of ground on Old Florissant Road (now Taylor Avenue) near Broadway Avenue in the neighborhood of O’Fallon Park for the purpose of laying out a cemetery. The cemetery was consecrated by the Archbishop on October 9 of the same year, in the presence of Fathers Simon Sigrist, P.J. Patschowski, S.J., P.J. Webter, S.J., Wm. Wheeler, Alleman, S.J., and John Anselm, the pastor of our parish.
In 1854 the Archbishop, thinking Holy Trinity parish was now standing on its own feet, announced that he expected some return on the sum of money that he had loaned them when they first organized their parish. But in reality they were not yet ready to make the return to the Archbishop, nor were they able to pay for the plot of ground that they were then using as their cemetery. As a result the Archbishop agreed to take the cemetery in place of the sum that they owed him.
Due to the fact that the first Holy Trinity Church was becoming too small to accommodate all the Catholics of the neighborhood, in 1855 preparations were begunt to have a new and larger church. This new church was to be built on the southwest corner of 14th and Mallinckrodt Streets, with the entrance on Mallinckrodt Street.
On the 11th of November, in 1855, Rev. F. Goller celebrated his First Solemn High Mass in our Church. It was a Joyful day for the young Parish. Father Goller was the first of a long line of priests to celebrate his First Solemn High Mass in our Church. Father Goller remained in our parish as the assistant to Father John Anselm, the pastor, who was finding it very difficult to attend to the parish affairs by himself any longer.
[Illeg.] Sunday, on May 18. The Vicar General, Reverend Joseph Melcher, conducted the ceremonies of laying the cornerstone. It is recorded in the historical records of our parish that the actual laying of the cornerstone was preceded by a magnificent procession, with plenty of color and music. Beside the Vicar General and the pastor, Father Anselm, and his assistant, Father Goller, the following priests were present at the cornerstone laying: Rev. Simon Sigrist, Rev. Father Feehan (later Archbishop of Chicago), P. J. Patschowski, S.J., Rev. Father Massenon, and Rev. H. Schweihoff. The festal speech which was delivered after the ceremonies were finished, was delivered by Father Sigrist of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish.
In the beginning of June, 1856, Father F. Goller was transferred from our parish. During his brief stay at Holy Trinity, Father Goller had gained the hearts of all the faithful of the parish. Hence his removal from Holy Trinity caused no small displeasure and dissatisfaction among the parishioners. This feeling of the people gradually led up to quite a large dispute between the people and the pastor, Father Anselm, whom they accused of being the cause of Father Goller’s removal. It was indeed a harsh treatment for them to give their pastor who had worked so hard and so untiringly for them and the welfare of their young parish. In order to establish peace in the Parish the Archbishop transferred Father Anselm too and appointed as his successor Father Casper Doebbner, who had been the Assistant Pastor of Sts. Peter and Paul Parish. The new pastor took over the reins of the parish with a firm but diplomatic hand, and in a short time peace was restored.
On June 22, 1856, Father Doebbner called a meeting of the Men and Women of the Parish, and at this assembly two societies were established: a Woman’s Society for the ladies and a Building Society for the men. The Building Society number 90 members and the Woman’s Society 64 members. The first ladied to hold office in the newly established Woman’s Society are: Mrs. Anna M. Steffensmeier, president; Mrs. Anna Grammann, secretary; Mrs. Christina Huchtons, treasurer. This Sodality grew rapidly and in membership, so that in the year 1899, when the Parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee, the Woman’s Society had a membership of 400 women. The officers of the Woman’s Society in 1899 were: Mrs. Elizabeth Schuermann, president; Mrs. Catherine Juergen Haken, vice-president; Mrs. Louise Sanders, secretary; and Mrs. Catherine Herkenfoff, treasuer.
Our readers will recall that in the last month’s issue of the Messenger, we stated that Father Anselm, seeing the need of a larger church, had the foundation for a second church laid, the cornerstone laying of which took place on May 18, 1856. [Illeg.] However, the constantly increasing number of Parishioners compelled the new pastor, Father Doebbner, to continue the building of the new church, begun by his predecessor, Father Anselm.
In 1856 St. Liborius Parish was established to administer to the spiritual needs of the faithful living in the north-western part of the Parish. This gave temporary relief, but in spite of this fact the membership of Holy Trinity Parish was still growing, and growing rapidly. Hence, Father Doebbner decided to build the new church even larger than his predecessor had planned. Therefore, late in fall, 1857, it was decided that the foundation, which had already been laid by Father Anselm, be enlarged, so that as soon as the spring weather allowed, they could begin the building of the new building.
Mr. Mitchell was selected as the architect of the new church. Mr. Mitchell estimated the cost of the new building at about $23,000.00, that is, without the building of the tower, and without some of the interior work, for example the gallery, the pews, the decoration of the colonnade, etc.
As had been planned, as soon as the weather permitted, the enlargement of the foundation of the new church was begun. In January, 1858, Father Doebbner made a contract with Mr. Benard Fisher, a Parishioner, and other men of the Parish for the delivery and the laying of the bricks. Mr. Fisher asked $4200.00 as his piece to furnish and deliver all the bricks necessary for the work, with the exception of 150,000 bricks which the Parish itself was to deliver.
The front of the church, which faced Mallinckrodt Street, and the right side of the church, facing 14th Street, that is the walls facing the East and the North, were to be built with the best kind of bricks. In June of the same year the Parish had to pay Mr. Fisher $1500.00. The balance of the sum with 10% interest, was to be paid as soon as the Parish was in a position to do so. This was a very liberal contract when we realize the fact that the sum demanded by Mr. Fisher was over $1000.00 less than any other contractor had asked for the same work.
In April of the same year (1858) the building of the foundation was finished, and on the 27th of April, Mr. Fisher began with the work of laying the bricks. At the same time the work of building the altar and the gallery was taking place. In November the new church was finished so far that divine services be conducted within it. All facts point obviously to the need of a larger church.
The new church was built in Roman style. It was 125 feet long and 54 feet wide and had a middle and two sides isles. The consecration of the new church took place on the 28th of November, the consecrating being done by Archbishop Kenrick.
By the year 1858, it was very obvious that the former class rooms of Holy Trinity School had become far too small to accommodate all the children of the parish, even in spite of the fact that for some time the girls were being taught in a neighboring building, which was rented for educational purposes. With the completion of the second and larger Holy Trinity Church, the first church was vacant and idle. But nothing could remain idle for the early parishioners of Holy Trinity Parish. Hence it was immediately decided to convert the old and original Holy Trinity Church Building into class rooms for the boys of the parish. Thus the boys were to be educated both in the old church and in the original class rooms on the first floor of the first school building, which was built with the first church in 1848.
As things were, it seemed to the parishioners that the girls would continue to be educated in the rented house, but Father Doebbner had other plans. It had been Father Doebbner’s intention for some time to obtain teaching Sisters in his school, at least for the girls. At this time, he thought it a good idea to have a new building erected, which would serve as a girl’s school building and also as a sisters’ home. Realizing that the parish was in no financial position to stand more debts, Father Doebbner himself obtained, from his friends back in Germany, $7,000.00, the amount necessary for him to build the combination girls’ school building and sisters’ home. He began to build in July, 1859, and the building was completed in December of the same year. This new building, the actual cost of which was $6,500.00, was erected on the northeast corner of Blair and Mallinckrodt Streets. The sisters, that Father Doebbner obtained to teach in his school, were the Franciscan Sisters of Oldenberg, Indiana, who have been moulding the characters of our parishioners ever since. The sisters opened school in the new building on December 22, 1859.
Thus we see that the girls of our parish were taught by the Sisters, but what of the boys? Laymen continued to do this work. The first teacher, you will recall, was a certain Mr. Boetting. He was followed by Messrs. Hinkelbein, Dierkers, Nolte and Floss. In 1861 Mr. H. W. Korfmacher assumed the position of boys’ teacher. He, due to the size of his work, shortly after his appointment, received as his assistant Mr. Stettner. In 1872 Mr. Stettner was succeeded by Mr. F. Knapp, who in turn was later succeeded by Mr. A. Boehm, who in later years was in turn succeeded by Mr. H. Hoernschemeier.
In 1859, while all the matter of school building was going on, the interior arrangement and decoration of the Church was compl… [Illeg.]
The foundations of this building were begun in the Spring of 1856, under the Pastorate of Father John Anselm. Due to the removal of Father Anselm from our parish in June of the same year the building of the new church was discontinued till late Fall of 1857, when Father Casper Doebbner, the successor to Father Anselm, due to the rapid growth of the parish, had the foundation of the church, which Father Anselm had begun, enlarged. The actual work of building began in Spring of 1858 and the second church was completed in November of the same year.
This building was located on the corner of Mallinckrodt and 14th Streets, on the same spot on which our present church stands today. It was of Roman style and was 125 feet long and 54 feet wide [facing Mallinckrodt Street].