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  First Church is Completed
Category:  Cultural Life, Human and Social Services, Planning and Development, Religion
Brief Description:  Built in 1776, the first church established in St. Louis was located on what is now Second Street between Walnut and Market, the same location as the second church building and the third one that remains today. The first wooden structure was a vertical log construction with chinking. The pitched roof held a wood bell tower topped by a wood cross. The extended overhanging eaves were supported by six log pillars on each side elevation. The priest´s residence was located near the rear of the church. One visitor to St. Louis prior to 1815 estimated that nearly half of the people of St. Louis were "blasphemous infidels who browbeat, insulted, and ridiculed anyone professing religion." The more educated families were informed about religion, but only the women, for the most part, supported the church and kept the faith. In 1815, Louis William Valentin DuBourg was consecrated bishop of most of the Louisana Purchase. He chose St. Louis in which to locate. He arrived in 1818 and was escorted by his welcoming parishioners to his "renovated residence" and the "dilapidated old church" that had been fixed up for the occasion. During his first year in St. Louis, Bishop DeBourg began to draw back many parishioners who had drifted away, and the old church was revitalized. In 1819, Bishop DuBourg built a new brick cathedral to replace the old wooden one, and established a Catholic school known as an academy for young gentlemen. That school eventually grew into the Saint Louis University.
Year:  1776
Decade:  1770 - 1779
Beginning Date:    1776
Ending Date:    1776



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