The former Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Clarksburg, West Virginia was established in 1906 for the growing Slovak community.


The Slovak community in Clarksburg requested permission from Bishop Patrick J. Donahue to build a national Slovak parish in 1906,4 which would serve not only Slovaks, but Poles, Croatians, Slovenians, Hungarians and Greek Rites.2 The church was needed at a time when Slovak immigrants were coming to America in large numbers, with many settling in West Virginia where the Consolidated Coal Company had vast holdings and plentiful job opportunities.4

C. F. Zaruba made the suggestion to Ambrose Karliak, who along with Stephen Vojusak and Charles Gavelda, raised funding for the church’s construction.2 The Slovak church was the only one of its type and had no defined parish limits due to its specific targeted demographic. Worshippers traveled upwards of 50 miles or more to attend.

The first Mass was held at 603 East Pike Street by Rev. Melchior Furst in May 1906.2 In June, Mass was moved to Centennial Hall and then to two old residences that were hastily remodeled into makeshift halls. The congregation then purchased two lots for a permanent church building.

Shortly after the lot purchase, construction on a basement for the future church was completed, as was the renovation of one of the oldest houses in the city into the rectory. The superstructure was completed on September 30, 1909.1

By 1913, the congregation had swelled 1,500.A new Holy Rosary parish was formed in 1924 and dedicated on July 26, 1925 by Bishop John J. Swint.4

The Holy Rosary Catholic Church closed in 1984 and was merged into the Immaculate Conception parish of Clarksburg and the Sacred Heart parish of Chester 3 due to a shortage of priests.4