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.
St. Patrick’s Parish
History of St Patrick’s
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
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.