Former Our Lady of Covadonga Roman Catholic Church, Quinn Chapel AME Church and Other Churches

No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get a good picture of one of the shortest lived parishes in St. Louis, Our Lady of Covadonga Roman Catholic Church, which used this building from 1915 to 1932. It was a Spanish national church, and the story of that country’s immigration to Carondelet has not been well-documented, and quite frankly ignored by most historians in St. Louis. See the section of Virginia Avenue around the church here.

The story of Our Lady of Covadonga is a perfect name for the Spanish church, as it relates the story of the first victory of the Reconquista of Spain in the mountains of Asturias. There is an important pilgrimage site, Santa Cueva de Nuestra Seora de Covadonga, which is sited in a beautiful location above the cave where a statue of the Virgin Mary was found near the battlefield. The building was built as a Methodist church, and is now slated to become a Byzantine Catholic church, according to the sign out front.

This building above and below has a special history. Originally built at the North Carondelet Market in 1869 (the South Market is still standing, I believe, and functioning in its original intent), it was converted into a church by a famous African American congregation, the Quinn Chapel AME in 1880.

William Swekosky, Quinn Chapel in Carondelet, Missouri History Museum, N07731

It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Upon closer inspection, it is obvious that the tower was added later, as the second pilaster from the left is clearly too close, and was once one of two flanking the original door to the building when it functioned as a market.

The church below was the Carondelet Methodist Church, and apparently was the southern branch of the Methodist church that became Our Lady of Covadonga.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church traces its history back to 1859, built on land donated by Henry Blow, who was the husband of Susan Blow, who founded the first American kindergarten at the Des Peres School up Michigan Avenue. The current location is on a new plot of land, with construction commencing in 1911.

Originally the Carondelet Delet German Evangelisch Church, this building is now the New Covenant Full Gospel Church.

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