Immaculate Conception Church

Update: See historic photos submitted by a reader in this post from November of 2012. I photographed the parish school in May of 2021. I went back in the late summer of 2021 to photograph the church again.

The old Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, on Longfellow at Lafayette anchors the intersection proudly. St. Kevin’s and St. Henry’s were apparently rolled into the parish, before the parish was closed due to lack of attendance.

It is a beautiful Gothic Revival church, and I imagine nearby industrial barons from the Compton Heights neighborhood walking over here on Sundays, before I-44 cut off this short stretch of Longfellow from the main portion south of the interstate. It is an idiosyncratic Gothic church, though. For starters, and perhaps not too strange, I am certain the church originally was planned to have a steeple or spire, but either it was destroyed or it was never built in the first place. The right side of the facade clearly shows a lack of symmetry, and the right side looks to be designed for a spire to rise out of its foundations.

A quattrefoil surmounts the pointed arch doorway, with the original name of the parish still inscribed above.

A rose window crowns not only the facade of the church, but on the transepts as well. The windows now feature protective glass to protect them.

The oddest part of this church are its relatively tiny clerestory windows, which are supposed to be anathema to the Gothic style. Of course, the church is also missing flying buttresses, that critical element which allows for the windows to grow larger than they had been during the more heavy-set Romanesque style. I wish I could speak to the architect about his unconventional expression of the Gothic style.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Immaculate Conception took the place of St. Kevin back in 1904. The latter had been one of the "Irish" parishes few blocks away. St. Henry's was combined with Immaculate Conception in 1977, until I.C. was closed in 2005.My late Father's family spent some years in St. Henry's, which was a German parish with Mass in German and German nuns. Them being Irish on both sides and him being a left-handed kid, he regularly had his hands beat with rulers. They finally moved some blocks away to I.C. and all was well…

  2. I.C. bought two church bells from The Henry Stuckstede Bell Foundry Company of St.Louis in 1910, and installed them in the windowed portion of what ought to have been a spired tower. When St.Henry was merged into I.C. in 1977, its bell (cast in 1885 by Henry Stuckstede & Co.) was brought here as well. Possibly all three bells have been removed for use elsewhere, as is the case with so many other closed churches.

    1. cnaffziger says:

      Wow, thank you for all of the fascinating information about the bells in these churches!

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