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St. Louis Originals: The Churches of the South Side

Categories: Architecture

Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church

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Sts. Peter and Paul in Soulard.

Mardi Gras revelers might know this church as the location where they or their friends passed out last month, but Sts. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church bears a much more august history. While not the oldest church in the city, it can trace its construction back to 1875, making it one of the most resilient parishes in St. Louis. The bell tower, with its clearly incongruous stones, rose above the church in 1890. As Soulard struggled through difficult times in the 20th century, the church stayed, and it now remains to serve the homeless in the neighborhood.

Resurrection of Our Lord Roman Catholic Church

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Resurrection of Our Lord on Meramec Street in Dutchtown.

Resurrection of Our Lord, shines as another largely unknown gem on Meramec, down the street from St. Anthony. And its design, in the Modernist style popular in the middle of the 20th century, distinguishes it from most of its counterparts in the city. Rejecting the traditional floor plan of a church, Resurrection instead fans out in a wide arc from its high altar. Large windows of both clear and stained glass filter light down into the sanctuary, both bucking tradition while simultaneously embracing it. A tall, slender bell tower rises above church, again speaking to tradition while reinterpreting it. After declining attendance, the church has reimagined itself as the center of the Vietnamese community in St. Louis and is now thriving. A unique feature: a stand-alone baptistry, a rarity in American churches.

Chris Naffziger writes about architecture at St. Louis Patina. Contact him via e-mail at naffziger@gmail.com


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