St. Patrick’s Parish

Established 1859

Originally known as Leary’s Farm, the area across the river from Walley Pondere’s Hill slowly grew into an Irish settlement with a small Bavarian community nestled on the river’s southern bank. A Bavarian brewer funded an Irish priest’s Cathedral project, and Leary’s Farm became St. Patrick’s Parish, the center of Catholicism in Central City. Years passed and immigration changed the complexion of the neighborhood. The economy and the neighborhood fell on hard times but never lost the character for which it’s always been known.

History of St Patrick’s


In 1834, Isaac Leary settled in the valley with his Ashkinape wife and their three children. Over the years, other settlers broke ground in the area that would become St. Patrick’s. 1819-1852: Civilization vs Nature


In the 1850’s, Irish immigrants arrived in Central City seeking jobs at the sawmill, the docks, and the copper mines northwest of the city. Despite being native English speakers, unlike most of their fellow immigrants, the Irish encountered prejudice and bigotry like everyone else, which led to their establishing a separate community. St. Patrick’s began as a cluster of homesteads where the wives and children of Irish day workers cultivated small fields, large gardens, or some livestock. 1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


A few Bavarian families settled near the river north of the growing group of Irish homesteads, and in 1857, Gerhardt Anneke, a Bavarian Brewmeister, founded Anneke Brewery upstream from the settlements. The Irish community, for no explicable reason, extended toward the Bavarians and their beer. 1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


An Irish Priest arrived to serve both settlements and christened the community St. Patrick’s Parish, which would become the seat of Central City Diocese, encompassing all of Shaktenasen County including St. Catherine’s in Midtown and The Church of Santa Maria in Little Italy.

1852-1894: Competing Forms of Civilization - Government, Business, and Industry


In 1906, Central City annexed St. Patrick’s, Commerce City, and Woodland Park. This part of the city became known as “The Old Neighborhoods,” referring to neighborhoods that were once separate settlements and which retained distinct identities.

Until the 1940’s, St. Patrick’s remained a working-class, Irish neighborhood, with Bavarian and Polish communities mixed in for good measure. The growth of war-time Industry and the relatively affordable housing in St. Patrick’s made for a desirable place to live, and the neighborhood grew ethnically more diverse.

1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation

1950’s -60's

The post-war-boom maintained St. Patrick’s middle-class status through the 1950’s, but by the 60’s, the economy had begun to shift. Parents sought better schools and more space in the suburbs, and they didn’t shy from the commute to the city center. Most of the descendants of St. Patrick’s original immigrant laborers fled the decaying neighborhood to plant roots in more fertile fields. By 1980, the neighborhood had fallen on hard times.1894-1950 Development of Standards, Tradition, and Expectation


St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Lincoln Cemetery are the two major landmarks in the neighborhood, the locations from which distances are measured and directions given. Owned by the Catholic Church, they reinforce the perception that St. Patrick’s remains a Catholic neighborhood, which it ceased to be by the late 1980’s.

By the last decade of the nineteenth century, the beautiful, neo-Gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the epicenter of Catholicism in a historically Catholic city, rose above the triple-deckers and brick and mortar storefronts of the parish. 

South of the cathedral, Lincoln Cemetery stretched two blocks deep and seven long and served as the final resting place for people from all walks of life, common parishioners, Benedictines, Jesuits, most of the city’s first generation of millionaires and their descendants, and many of the lowliest junkies, tramps, and thugs. 

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