St. Columbkille Roman Catholic Church

This row of houses hides the location of the former Roman Catholic church of St. Columbkille’s one of the three most important patron saints of Ireland along with St. Bridget of Erin and St. Patrick. It was demolished back in the 1950s and after the parish closed in 1952. The cornerstone was laid on June 23, 1872, about the same time as the Carondelet School, which shares the other side of the block. The first priest, Michael O’Reilly, opened the church for Irish “roughnecks” who worked at the nearby Vulcan Ironworks. Construction finished in February of 1873.

St. Columbkille’s Catholic Church, Photograph by William Swekosky, 1952, Missouri History Museum, N05194

We have an idea of what it looked like due to some photographs taken before its demolition. It looked like many churches in St. Louis before they were expanded due to the growth of the congregations. This one never expanded and its original building now no longer exists.

Interior of St. Columbkille’s Catholic Church at 8202 Michigan Avenue, Photograph by Emil Boehl, 1890s, Missouri History Museum, N33510


  1. What is sad, is that St. Bridget’s and the Original building for St. Patrick’s are now gone as well, also Lawrence o’Toole and Sacred Heart. The majority of Irish Catholic history is gone

  2. So true. St. Bridget’s was a beautiful building. It’s not like there wasn’t tons of alternative vacant space in that neighborhood!

  3. The “archives” found a picture of what I believe was a free standing bell tower associated with St. Columbkille’s.
    Did St Columbkille’s have it’s bells in a steeple over the front door, or in a small story and a half out building next to/ behind the church?

    • There was in fact a 40-foot tall freestanding bell tower out back behind the main church building. I am not certain the material it was constructed of, however, because the fire insurance map I consulted did not provide a color, so I don’t know if it was wood, brick or another material.

      I would love to see that photo!

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