The Evanston Community Council is committed to acquiring St. Mark Church, 3500 Montgomery Rd. to be established as a community center to benefit the neighborhood and the region. Join us to Save St Mark Church. We need over 100 residents and friends of Evanston in this initial component of the Campaign to Save St Mark. We need your time, talent and treasure to preserve and reactivate this historic treasure. Please join us. We need you to make this happen.

Preserving

The heart of our neighborhood

In evaluating the pros and cons of land use issues affecting our communities we are, in the highest sense, called upon to act as community stewards, entrusted with the thoughtful and responsible management of our community’s unique assets and resources while minimizing threats and taking advantage of opportunities. 

Evanston…A History of Education, Music and Faith

Walnut Hills High School, est 1931

King Records, EST 1943

St. Mark, est 1906

…Historic Preservation is investing and buying locally at the most basic level, enhancing buildings and neighborhoods…

St. Mark

History & legacy

In 1904, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood expressed interest in establishing a parish in Evanston, a new middle-class suburb of Cincinnati where there were over 100 Catholic families, many of Polish and German descent. Permission was granted to establish the St. Mark parish in 1905. The first services were held at the residence of Mary Klinckhamer. A temporary frame building was soon erected on land that Mary donated, with a cornerstone for the combination church and school laid on April 29, 1906. The new building was dedicated on October 28. A convent was added in 1909 for the Sisters of the Precious Blood who operated the school. The school and church were both at capacity by 1911.

Architect Henry J. Schlacks was sought after to design a larger church for St. Mark. It was requested that the new building be inspired by St. Marie in Trastevere and St. Marie in Cosmedio, Italy. Schlacks was the founder of the Architecture School at Notre Dame University and was the architect of Xavier University’s original campus buildings and other notable Cincinnati landmarks. Joseph G. Steinkamp & Brothers served as the associate architect

The cornerstone for the new church was laid in 1914. The new building opened in 1916 at the cost of $150,000. The exterior boasted mild brown brick with terracotta components, colored to match Roman Travertine stone, with a Verona facade and imported orange Roman tiles. The new complex also included a 130-foot campanile. The interior included three consecrated altars built from Botticino marble. The high altar contained images of the twelve apostles, surmounted by a baldachino comprised of Breccia marble. The side altars featured Lady as Queen of Angels and Mother Hen, and St. Joseph as Scion of the House of David and Patron of the Universal Church. A mural in the sanctuary, which depicted the Lamb of God, was painted by Leo Mirabile. Several statues included Sacred Heart, St. Anne, St. Mark and St. Rose, all constructed of Carrara marble. Zettler of Munich, Germany crafted the stained glass windows.

St. Mark’s sanctuary had a capacity of 850 persons, with a choir gallery and two votive chapels holding 150 persons total. The school burned in 1922 but was replaced in 1923. A large pipe organ, built by Kilgen, was installed in 1933. A bowling alley and youth club were added to the church in the 1940’s. A Mission House for the Previous Blood Fathers, designed by A.M. Strauss of Fort Wayne, Indiana, was built in 1950. The house replaced the original frame church, and contained residences for the pastor and assistant pastors, the mission band, religious instruction for St. Mark’s Cathedral information center and meeting rooms for parish societies.

St. Mark

Decline & Current Condition

At St. Mark’s height in the mid-1950’s, over 1,200 families worshiped regularly. The neighborhood was in decline by the 1970’s as suburbs developed further out in the county. The construction of Interstate 71 in 1972, which passed adjacent to the church, led to hundreds of homes being razed, further starving St. Mark of its congregation. By the late 20th century, St. Mark had just a small congregation of mostly African-American Catholics. Owing to the high cost of maintaining an aging facility and a shortage of priests, the parish began planning for a merger in 1991 when the Cincinnati archdiocese headed the Future Projects strategic plan. Of the four parishes the archdiocese controlled, the combined membership was just over 500 worshipers spread over 11 buildings.

The archdiocese declared that the four parishes could not exist upon their own in 2008. After much discussion and debate, it was decided that St. Mark would merge into St. Agnes. St. Agnes had the newest building and had a seating capacity of 350 persons. With 95 students, the St. Mark Catholic school closed in May 2002. Students were urged to attend Corryville Catholic School which had planned to relocate to St. Mark’s school building. Instead, Corryville Catholic decided to remain in their building in June 2004.

The shuttered school building was leased to National Heritage Academies, a charter school, in June 2004. It reopened in August to 350 kindergarten through fifth-grade students. Due to the more substantial student body, the bowling alley was removed, and the space renovated into seven classrooms. A decree by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr formed the Church of the Resurrection on July 14, 2010. 2 It combined St. Agnes in Bond Hill, St. Martin de Porres in Lincoln Heights, and St. Andrew in Avondale into the St. Agnes building. The newly combined congregation contained 550 worshipers.

A decree by Cincinnati Archbishop Dennis Schnurr formed the Church of the Resurrection on July 14, 2010. It combined St. Agnes in Bond Hill, St. Martin de Porres in Lincoln Heights, and St. Andrew in Avondale into the St. Agnes building. The newly combined congregation contained 550 worshipers. On July 25, St. Mark held its last service to a predominately African-American parish. The first Mass at the Church of the Resurrection was held at 10 a.m. on August 1.

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