December 17, 1916: Dedication of Good Shepherd Catholic Church

On this day in Duluth in 1916, Good Shepherd Catholic Church at 109 South 59th Avenue West was officially dedicated. It wasn’t the first time the building had been dedicated. The building had been dedicated in 1894 when it first opened as St. Stephen’s Lutheran German Evangelical Church on the southwest corner of Sixty-Seventh Avenue West and Raleigh Street in West Duluth. In 1916 St. Stephens moved into a new facility, selling the 1894 building to the Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Parish, organized in 1914 by Southern Italian immigrants. Good Shepherd purchased lots at 5905 Raleigh Street and moved the church building to the new site by rolling it down Raleigh Street on logs. The congregation was led by Father Zarilli, who was also the parish priest for St. Peter’s Catholic Church. By 1919 the building (shown here in the 1950s) had been enlarged and remodeled with the addition of a steeple, a new entrance, and a stained-glass window. The church served until 1959 when the congregation had it demolished after building a new church left of the parsonage. The Duluth Diocese closed the newer Good Shepherd in 1997 due to “a shortage of priests.” That church has been home to the Raleigh-Edison Charter School since 1999.

Good Shepherd Catholic Church, built in 1894 as St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church, photographed in the 1950s. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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