October 22, 1922: Cornerstone laid for Duluth’s St. Anthony Padua Catholic Church

On this day in Duluth in 1922, the cornerstone was laid for a new St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and school at 1030 East 8th Street. Duluth’s parish of St. Anthony of Padua was established December 27, 1890, to serve German Catholics living east of Garfield Avenue. (St. Clements Catholic Church, which served German Catholics west of Garfield, was established in 1887.) The parish’s first home was in the former First Presbyterian Church, built in 1870 at 231 East 2nd Street. The new building adjusted the parish’s territory to include the east side of Seventh Avenue East to Chester Park, and from the North side of Fourth Street to Villa Scholastica, known today as the College of St. Scholastica. At the proceedings, the pastor of the new church, Father Francis Hafnagel, assisted Right Reverend John T. McNicholas, the Bishop of Duluth. The brick building, designed by Duluth architects Frederick German and Leif Jensen, displays Mediterranean influences, which is appropriate. St. Anthony of Padua was a Portuguese priest who became the provincial superior of northern Italy. For the next sixty years the church served 500 families and enrolled up to 250 students at a time, but by the 1980s Duluth’s drop in population had affected enrollment. The church closed in September 1984. Today the church is home to the Benedictine Early Childhood Program of Duluth’s Benedictine Health System.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. (Image: Zenith City Press)padua