Early Years (1918-1924) of Immaculate Conception Church, Columbia Heights
In 1918, early settlers in the Village of Columbia Heights visited Archbishop Dowling and asked him to establish a Catholic parish in Columbia Heights. Before our parish was established, Catholics in this area would travel to nearby parishes such as St. Clement, St. Boniface, St. Anthony or Our Lady of Lourdes to celebrate Mass and the other sacraments. By 1923 there were enough Catholic families in Columbia Heights and they had saved up enough money to build a church, so Archbishop Dowling agreed to establish a parish here. Archbishop Dowling sent Rev. George Rowles to be the first pastor of the new parish of Immaculate Conception. The first public Mass was of Immaculate Conception Parish was celebrated on Saturday, December 8, 1923 in the unused dance hall at the old Forrest Park amusement grounds on 40
th Avenue NE and 7
th Street NE thanks to an offer by its owner, Mr. Kamm. The men of the parish made the necessary changes to the hall, and Masses were celebrated there until April 1924 when they were moved to the movie house which was also on the amusement grounds. In 1924, Father Rowles bought 14 lots bounded by 40
th Avenue NE, Quincy St. NE, 41
st Ave. NE and Jackson St. NE. The construction of the new church began in the Spring of 1924. By July 1924 Masses were celebrated in the basement of the uncompleted church. On December 8, 1924, the new church was dedicated by Archbishop Dowling. The new church cost $41,000 to build, and it consisted of an upper hall with a seating capacity of 400 people for Mass and a lower hall (basement) for Sunday school classes and parish meetings. The original church is now our school auditorium (upper hall) and our school cafeteria (lower hall).
The Church of the Immaculate Conception (original church bulding)
MN Historical Society