Maplewood History: The Immaculate Conception Parish

While most Maplewoodians are familiar with the beautiful 1925 church of the Immaculate Conception at Marshall and Moller, few realize that the parish began in an earlier building constructed in 1904-5.  This building still exists just behind and east of the more well known edifice.  Take a look.

First a little history.  this article is from The Observer newspaper, Sept. 10, 1958.  This edition featured the Maplewood's 50th anniversary called the Golden Jubilee.  Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

First a little history. This article is from The Observer newspaper, Sept. 10, 1958. This edition featured Maplewood’s 50th anniversary called the Golden Jubilee. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

This is the earliest photo I've been able to locate.  It is from a postcard.  the image was probably made when the building was just a few years old judjing from other postcards I've found that appear to be from the same set.  Inset is the building as it looked in 2008.  the historic image is courtesy of Andrew Rochman.

This is the earliest photo I’ve been able to locate. It is from a postcard. The image was probably made when the building was just a few years old judging from other postcards I’ve found that appear to be from the same set. Inset is the building as it looked in 2008. Note that one of the twin entrys (to separate the sexes?) has been replaced by an addition.  Also the large stained glass window has been removed.  The historic image is courtesy of Andrew Rochman.

This image is from the 1915 Maplewood Business Directory.  courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

This image is from the 1915 Maplewood Business Directory. Courtesy of the Maplewood Public Library.

A closeup of the terra cotta ornament in the brick gable end.

A closeup of the terra cotta ornament in the brick gable end.

The southeren elevation seen in this 2010 photo retains one of the original entrys.

The southern elevation seen in this 2010 photo retains one of the original entrys.

The very beautiful 1925 building by the architect, Henry P. Hess with its freestanding campanile.

The very beautiful 1925 building by the architect, Henry P. Hess with its freestanding campanile.

A detail of the cornice of the campanile in 2010.

A detail of the cornice of the campanile in 2010.

The graceful proportions of the Italianate design are in evidence throughout.

The graceful proportions of the Italianate design are in evidence throughout.

A seat on top of the copper cross must certainly afford a good view.

A seat on top of the copper cross must certainly afford a good view.

9 thoughts on “Maplewood History: The Immaculate Conception Parish

  1. Doug, I’m speculating and have no evidence to support my speculation. Since the building served two purposes, church and school, I wondered if the two entry’s might have been to allow separation of the sexes during school hours. At my wife’s parish school the sexes were separated during recess.

    • Same thing at Scullin public school here in St. Louis. There was a 6ft chain-link fence separating the girls play yard from
      the boys. If a ball went over that fence, your were at the mercy of the snippy girls to throw it back over.

  2. Thank you Doug. I was surprised that in the close-up of the cross on the belfry, that there doesn’t seem to be a lightning rod, since it must be the highest point in the neighborhood. I remember what happened to St Anthony of Padua on Meramec Street when lightning struck it – a catastrophic fire.

    • Tom, you’re absolutely correct. The lightning rod is there and can be seen just to the left of the birds head.

  3. I remember entering Immaculate Conception Church with my childhood friend, Danise Banks. She would go during the week (after school) to confession. We needed to wear headscarfs because that was the tradition in those days. I also remember that the plexiglass wasn’t there then around the central circular stained glass (over the main entrance).

  4. Interesting, it looks like the changes made to the older church makes it appear newer than what it is. The newer church, of course, has a great refined and dignified look.

  5. Interesting, Doug. Just curious…… which door was for men and which for women?