The History of St. Edward Church & School

The History of St. Edward Church & School

Writer / Beth Wilder
Photography Provided

For many decades, the buildings comprising St. Edward Church and School were a dominant feature on the town square. St. Edward’s beginnings date back to 1878, when 30 Catholic families met in a log cabin on Market Street (now Taylorsville Road) to discuss building a church in Jeffersontown.  For the next three years, Sunday Mass was conducted in one of their homes by aSt. Edward Church & School visiting priest.

Rev. Louis C. Ohle was appointed Administrator of the Jeffersontown Catholic community in 1881, and two years later, Rev. Wm. Geo. McCloskey, Roman Catholic Bishop of Louisville, spent $700 to purchase lots 14 and 15 on the town square, which had housed a tavern from the 1830s owned by Andrew Shafar. The local families – some of whom were named Brohm, Gellhaus, McCrocklin, McKenna, Roemele, Sullivan and Ziegler – built a 60’ x 30’ church on the lot with their own hands. In 1883, Rev. William P. McCarthy was appointed pastor and the church was given the name St. Agnes Mission. Due to lack of funding, the structure was not completed until the autumn of 1884, after Rev. Thomas J. Hayes became pastor. The church building was dedicated on October 18, 1884, and renamed St. Edward Church in 1885.

Many different priests served the church until 1903, when Rev. Dr. Theodore Reverman was appointed the first resident pastor. Reverman was also pastor of All Saints Church in Taylorsville, so Mass was celebrated at St. Edward every other week.

In 1904, the church building was moved to a different location on the property so that a new rectory could be built on the site. In 1907, a small plot of ground on Billtown Road was purchased and donated by the Roemele and Springer families to use as a parish cemetery. That same year, a small, two-room school building fronting Taylorsville Road was added to the site.  It was staffed by two Ursuline sisters and had an enrollment of 20 students, grades first through eighth.

St. Edward Church & SchoolOver the ensuing years, various upgrades were made to the church, including a new high altar, two side altars, stained glass windows a communion rail and a sanctuary lamp. More land facing Watterson Trail was purchased in 1919, church membership grew to 100 families and school enrollment increased to 61. The church continued to grow, and in 1947, a three-room addition was built onto the school to house more than 150 students.

Although St. Edward primarily served the Jeffersontown community, everyone was welcome.  The September 19, 1909, Jeffersonian newspaper noted that “Misses Margaret and Adelaide Hoertz, two of Louisville’s most popular members of the younger set, attended services at St. Edward’s church last Sunday, which, no doubt, accounted for the unusual large attendance of beaux.”

Festivals were another huge draw, not only for Catholics outside of Jeffersontown, but the entire community, as well. They were often held on the Oechslin farm (where Jeffersontown Commons now stands on Taylorsville Road) as their orchard provided an ideal setting for church picnics. In 1912, over 3,000 people purchased tickets to the annual summer festival held there.

Various pastors came and went over the years at St. Edward, and by the Golden Jubilee Celebration held in 1934, the church size had doubled to house the more than 300 families in its congregation. By the mid-1950s, the church had outgrown its facilities, so a new, larger church and school were built on Sue Helen Drive in Charlane Heights. Those who grew up attending St. Edward on the town square, however, have lasting memories they will never forget– of a set of buildings that were an integral part of their lives.  St. Edward Church & School

Comments 1

  1. Sondra Albert says:

    When did St Edward acquire the mascot Braves

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