Saturday, December 31, 2005

St. John the Baptist, Kansas City, Missouri

St. John the Baptist, in the Pendleton Heights neighborhood at 531 Garfield, is no more. In its building is the Don Bosco center of Kansas City (no, the place wasn't crawling with Salesian priests).

Judging from its location, St. John the Baptist was probably folded into Assumption/St. Anthony's, which we'll look at tomorrow. As you can see from the photo, the closure involved no great loss of an architectural treasure. No cornerstone was apparent.

If there was ever a beautiful church at this site, it's obviously been torn down.
In fact, the good people of St. John the Baptist, if they did indeed get moved to Assumption/St. Anthony, landed in a place much more suitable for Catholic worship.

When I do get more time in This Far by Faith, we'll all know more.

The parish was founded in 1882, and the original church was built immediately at 1436 Independence Avenue. There was an addition of 32 feet to the nave (at a cost of $2300. In 1913, the original church was renovated, and it was frescoed by the O.J. Kover company after 1915. As populations shifted, most of the folks were living east of the Paseo. In 1954, the original church, shown below, was closed, and eventually, it was torn down in a widening of the Paseo. The parish met in the school chapel at the site shown above, and in 1959, the school gym was converted into the church (those of you who said, "Oh boy, another church that looks like a gym," as you were reading above, there you have it.

The parish was struggling to make ends meet, and the parish was partially depopulated in the mid-1960s by the construction of the Osteopathic Hospital (causing 200 families to leave when their homes, over four square blocks, were cleared) and the Garfield Urban Renewal Project, werein 10 percent of the dwellings in the parish north of Independence Avenue were condemned and razed. The church was renovated in 1968 to better reflect the Spirit of Vatican II. In 1991, the parish was supressed and the parishioners were sent to the new Queen of Peace parish at the old St. Stephen's site. The parish complex was sold to the Don Bosco Center for $350,000.


Mary C said...

My family home was one of "10 percent of the dwellings in the parish north of Independence Avenue" that "were condemned and razed". I was born in the neighborhood in 1942 and my father and family were forced out of our home in 1965 by The Garfield Urban Renewal Project. My father was a practicing family doctor who took care of poor families, no matter whether they were white, black or Hispanic. He took excellent care of his patients.

Anonymous said...

The school was a great loss

Anonymous said...

I went to St John the Baptist school from 1954 to 1963 and remember the tiny chapel being our only church. They built our new, huge gym in 1959 then before we could use it, it was turned into our new church. It was modern and sleek and huge, nothing like the tiny dark chapel we used to call our church. Sister Rosalinda, 7 & 8 grade.

Anonymous said...

I went to school at St John’s for kindergarten and 2nd grade. I remember one of the nuns, Sr. Florentine and the Priest was Fr. Peter. I don’t recall his last name. My family lived with my grandparents on Garfield Avenue. My grandfather was a doctor as stated above by Mary C. who is one of my maternal aunts. They were very involved at St. John’s. The Holy Name Society and and Altar Rosary Society and The Knights of Columbus. I remember in 1965 Urban Renewal took over my grandparents home and properties they owned which were on Garfield Avenue. There were beautiful homes even if some needed work. We had some wonderful neighbors that I still remember to this day. At my age now, I still can’t understand how properties can be taken away when people have owned them for years. My grandparents had lived there for 32 years until they had to move. Those years were the best of my childhood.