Update: This was in fact a Polish national parish, famous for its fall festival on Labor Day. Also, thanks to a reader’s observation, I confirmed with Sanborn maps that the school did in fact function as the church as well, which was on the second floor.
The former St. Hedwig’s is set back in a residential area of southern Dutchtown, and is not normally passed by travelers on nearby Virginia Avenue. It was founded in 1904,
and there was clearly an earlier church here that was demolished in the mid-1950s so the present building could be built in 1957. It closed in 2005 in a wave of closures in the Archdiocese. St. Hedwig is the patron saint of Silesia, which was a part of the Kingdom of Prussia since the War of the Austrian Succession until after World War II, when it went to Poland. Frederick the Great built St. Hedwig’s Cathedral in his Forum Fridericianum in central Berlin to celebrate his victory and as a nod to his Roman Catholic subjects. St. Hedwig, a Bavarian, became a saint by her works in Poland, thus becoming a symbol of German-Polish reconciliation.
It’s a severe structure, and is much different than the curving lines of nearby Resurrection or the Priory; I think this was a design meant for a working class neighborhood in an out-of-the-way area of the city.
The interior, as Built St. Louis shows, has some nice surprises in the stained glass and sculpture for the Stations of the Cross. I do not know how much of the latter is still installed.
There was clearly an earlier church here as the nearby school is in a much older Romanesque Revival style in red brick. I was surprised to learn from its cornerstone that it was built in 1904. I would have guessed it was built in the 1880s.
The building is being renovated into a new school.
The name of the church’s namesake is in both Polish and English/German. I wonder if this church was originally founded to serve German or Polish American Roman Catholics.