St. Andrew Catholic Church is an abandoned Roman Catholic church that served the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio from 1875 and 2010.
St. Andrew parish was organized in the Avondale neighborhood of Cincinnati in 1874, and a lot was secured at Prospect Place and Reading Road for a sanctuary. 7 The cornerstone for a Gothic Revival style building was laid by Archbishop Purcell on September 20 and the church was dedicated on April 18, 1875. 5
After outstanding church debt was retired in January 1882, the parish decided upon enlarging the sanctuary, which was completed on October 7, 1894. 5
In 1917, the ground was broken for a more substantial church building. 4 7 Designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons in the Gothic Revival style, the new sanctuary was finished in 1920 and featured vaulted ceilings and extensive stained glass panels. The original sanctuary was converted into a synagogue and later demolished for the construction of the South Avondale School.
The church building was intended to have two competing bell towers but both were never erected because of the cost. 4 Additionally, a statue of St. Andrew, ordered in 1919 from Italy, was to have been installed above the front door at the apex but it received disapproval from the parish priest, Father David O’Meara over its smaller size. After the statue arrived, it was stored in a crate in the warehouse of the Herschede Hall Clock Company. Because the statue held St. Andrew’s Cross, it was difficult to sell the figure and was unboxed, blessed, and installed on the lawn of the church in 1939.
A two-story school building was added behind the church on Blair Avenue in 1925. 7
Avondale was the center of a demographic upheaval in the middle of the 20th century. In the 1940s, black professional and middle-class homeowners moved to the neighborhood by choice from an overcrowded West End neighborhood, lured by large homes and lots and a vibrant business district. 6 But in the 1950s, regional planners convinced the city to force thousands of low-income families to move from the West End to Avondale as part of an urban redevelopment project near downtown that eventually led to the construction of Interstate 75 and the Queensgate industrial park.
Avondale’s population began a slow decline and accelerated after race riots in 1967 and 1968. 6 St. Andrew sustained damage when some stained glass windows were shattered, while nearby businesses and residences nearby were torched.
The St. Andrew’s school closed in 1965 over shrinking enrollment, with the remaining students sent to St. George School in the Corryville neighborhood. 7 Shortly after, the church’s interior was renovated and adorned with symbols of the Dominican Order.
On July 14, 2010, a decree by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr formed the Church of the Resurrection, which combined the congregation of St. Agnes Church in Bond Hill, St. Martin de Porres Church in Lincoln Heights, and St. Andrew Church in Avondale. 2 After consideration, it was decided to merge St. Martin de Porres and St. Andrew into St. Agnes, with all worship being held in the St. Agnes sanctuary in Bond Hill. The newly joined congregation contained 550 worshipers.
After 136 years, St. Andrew held its last service on July 18. 3 The first Mass at the renamed Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill was held at 10 a.m. on August 1. 2
- Bradley, Eric. “Last services held at three Catholic Churches.” Cincinnati Enquirer 25 July 2010. 13 May 2011 Article.
- Paver, Ashley. “History of St. Mark’s Church.” The Campaign to Restore St. Mark’s Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2011. Article.
- Walton, Jenell. “St. Andrew first of four African-American Catholic churches to close as part of Archdiocese merger.” WCPO. N.p., 18 Jul. 2010. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Article.
- Dan. “Historic Catholic Churches of Cincinnati.” Queen City Survey. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Article.
- “St. Andrew’s Chruch, Avondale.” Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Article.
- Curnutte, Mark. “Saving Avondale.” Cincinnati Enquirer. N.p., 18 Mar. 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. Article.
- “History of St. Andrew Catholic Church.” Celebrating National Black Catholic History Month. Cincinnati: Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 2009. 77-78. Print.