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Former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church and Baden Elementary School

The former Our Lady of Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church is a mighty structure, stretching for a considerable length down the west side of Annetta Avenue at the intersection of that street with Halls Ferry Road and Veronica Avenue. It was originally founded at a different location in Baden in 1871 or 1872, and closed in 1993, merging with Holy Cross in the same neighborhood.

It is a beautiful church, inspired by the Lombard Romanesque that I saw in Milan, with the buff colored brick so common in northern Italy. This new church open in June of 1939 and was dedicated by Archbishop Glennon; it cost $90,000.

The current owner, Circle of Light Church, has done a great job of keeping the building in great condition, and it’s always wonderful to see it continue to be a fixture in the community. The church sits right on the edge of the Gingerbread “suburban” portion of Baden, which I’ve photographed before.

The rectory stands behind the church and parish school. I am not sure what it is used for nowadays.

As I mentioned above, the original location of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was elsewhere in Baden, and by shear luck I discovered it was further down Halls Ferry Road, sitting among some large plats of land that probably originally held farm houses or country estates. Supposedly the priests lived in a log cabin built around 1814 at first. It appears, from its outline, that it probably was in the Gothic Revival style, since I can see buttresses sticking out. I cannot find a historic photography of the original church, but if anyone knows or remembers what it looks like, please let me know. The old church had quite the history, having been built in 1872. It was for Irish Catholics who were probably not fitting in with the Germans at Holy Cross; it begins to make sense now why the road that links the two is called Church Road! The old church grounds were sold to the City for a new playground at the time of the new church’s dedication in 1939. Of course, with the closing of Our Lady, the two parishes were reunited after over a century apart.

And of course, as I always say, if you find a pocket of Twentieth Century houses in the middle of Nineteenth Century neighborhood, be suspicious! This is the case here as well, as if you look through this gateway, there is a suburban style development from the 1960s.

The massive retaining wall holds up an apartment building inside the old grounds, obviously dating from much later than the rest of the neighborhood. I photographed Gimblin, which crosses over the north side of this plot, three winters ago.

As an aside, I also am including Baden Elementary School, which sits on Halls Ferry Road in between the two locations of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is a cool building, and while in the past I have criticized the condition of vacant schools and their sales prices, I think this one is reasonably priced and well secured.

For comparison, see Rob Powers’s photographs of the school from over a decade ago here.

The school, like many Ittner-Milligan designs, is based off St. James Palace in London and public (private) schools in England.

Baden School, 8724 Halls Ferry Road, c. 1907, Missouri History Museum, N33152

And just like the Mount Carmel, it had a previous location a few blocks away, at the intersection of Church Road and Bittner Street, tucked into the space between Holy Cross and the corner. It is now the front lawn of the church.

Baden School, Church and Bittner, Photograph by Emil Boehl, c. 1890s, Missouri History Museum, N33151

The Sanborn map reveals why the new Baden School was built; wood classrooms dot the schoolyard of its predecessor, showing that the old school had far been outstripped of its capacity.

2 Comments

  1. So glad you featured this church. It’s a noble presence in that neighborhood. And some great tracery on that rose window!

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