Update: I went back and revisited the church in July of 2020.
St. Agatha’s Parish is a great example of how a Roman Catholic church in St. Louis didn’t just serve the community for a couple of hours on Sunday morning. It was a campus, buzzing with activity all week long.
The church itself is a great example of French and German Gothic in its ornamentation and massing.
Sanborn maps help us discover the original purposes for the buildings on the campus; below is the priests’ residence.
While this simple but elegant building housed nuns.
The high styling school building and parish hall shows the Beaux-arts style; another parochial school was on the southwest corner of the property and was presumably destroyed for I-55, if not earlier.
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Did you get a better shot of the car parked at the front of the church? I’m guessing its a Rolls Royce or Bentley from the 1960s. It was apparently being used as transportation for the wedding party.
It’s what the parvenu rental company calls a “Bentley-Rolls Royce.”
It apparently does not know which car it has, nor does it know (or care) that “Rolls-Royce” is always spelled with a – between the words. Judging from the grill, it is a Bentley.
It has a phony R-R “Spirit of Ecstasy” hood mascot. Tacky…
The St. Agatha Parish complex is a rarely found intact historic architectural site of fine St. Louis red brick from the late 19th Century . So unspoiled , it could be the set for “Going My Way” . I always think of Barry Fitzgerald coming out of the rectory when I pass by . Inside, the unspoiled Church is a testament to the vibrant detail favored in past times of greater ceremony and reverence in liturgy . It is edifying and evocative of an earlier and more architecturally informed era . The area immediately adjacent is also a preserved visual buffer of varied forms of early St. Louis architecture of the 19th Century . This fabric rose from need and family devotion to Faith . It was not planned to be charming – it just happened from the customs of that time . A Gem !!
Historic ST. AGATHA CHURCH at 9th and Utah Streets was designed by noted church architect ADOLPHUS DRUIDING, himself a 19th Century German immigrant who designed numerous churches in the St. Louis area and the Middle West, including the ST. JOHN CANTIUS CHURCH in Chicago, IL ( a Polish Baroque structure also on the National Register of Historic Places). The ST. AGATHA Gothic Revival stained glass windows (featuring German and Latin inscriptions and saints) are by Emil Frei Studios; baptismal font by St. Louis monumentalist/carver Franz Xavier Speh; the altars by Conrad Schmitt Co. of Milwaukee, WI; and much of the statuary by Prof. Maximilian Schneiderhahn of St. Louis. The church has been well-maintained in recent years. Beer baron William Lemp donated money for the St. Agatha steeple (even though he was a Lutheran), pending a marriage to Catholic socialite Lillian Handlan (the “Lavender Lady,” which unfortunately did not last). ST. AGATHA’s is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.