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Former Nativity of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church

What is now the Celestial Temple of Peace at 5513 Oriole Avenue at the corner of Harney was originally Nativity of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church in Walnut Park. It was opened in 1904, and closed in 1982, its congregation processing to St. Adalbert’s at 5720 Woodlawn, which itself would later close and merge with St. Philip Neri in 1993 to create Simon of Cyrene, all formerly in Walnut Park. I find the church interesting in that it is Gothic Revival, but it clearly received a Modernist renovation in the 1950s or 60s, its large Gothic pointed window in the front replaced with a rectangular window made of three crosses. It is actually quite ingenious how it incorporates Christ’s cross with the two thieves’.

It is an interesting church in that it is English Gothic in some ways, particularly its squat proportions, but is German Gothic in other ways with the Hallkirche design of the nave, for example. Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps show that it was in a fairly rural area when first built at the time of the World’s Fair.

Similar to the old St. Matthew’s Evangelisch Church in Gravois Park, the parsonage is “hidden” under the same roof at the back of the sanctuary.

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