Reverend James McGolrick

Reverend James McGolrick. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

James McGolrick was born in Ireland’s County Tipperary in 1841 McGolrick was born in Ireland’s County Tipperary in 1841 and received his education at All Hallows College (two of his brothers also became priests, and two of his sisters became nuns). McGolrick came to Duluth in 1890 and served as Duluth’s first bishop until his death in 1918 after 51 years in the priesthood. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1867—the same year he was ordained—to assist Father John Ireland, who later became archbishop of that city. From 1868 to 1889 McGolrick served as the pastor of Minneapolis’s Church of the Immaculate Conception; he built the church’s first temporary facility, a simple wood-frame building, by himself. While McGolrick was bishop, the Duluth Diocese built Sacred Heart Cathedral, St. Mary’s Hospital, St. James Orphanage, and Cathedral School, which was funded in part with a $30,000 gift from the bishop himself. Known for his extensive personal library, McGolrick also served on Duluth’s library board and park board from 1900 until its 1913 dissolution.  While on the park board he was responsible for Cascade Square, Twin Lakes, Hilltop Park, and the city’s playgrounds.