December 18, 1927: Dedication of St. Peter’s Catholic Church

On this day in Duluth in 1927, the second St. Peter’s Catholic Church at 818 West Third Street was formally dedicated. The first St. Peter’s stood at 1100 West Superior Street and was built in 1885 by French Catholics as St. Jeane Baptiste Catholic Church. The St. Peter’s was independent from the Duluth Catholic Diocese, as southern Italians were unwelcome in the American Catholic Church at the time. Its parishioners purchased the Superior Street building in 1905, when St. Jean Baptiste moved into new church at 2432 West Third Street. For its new home on Third Street, St. Peter’s congregation built a Romanesque-Gothic church designed by parishioner Peter Summers, son of Duluth’s first Italian immigrants. Its position atop Point of Rocks was wonderfully appropriate for a church named after the disciple Simon, whom Christ renamed Peter,  the “rock” upon which he would build his church. Although most of St. Peter’s parishioners were southern Italian, a few were highly-skilled stone masons from northern Italy. These artisans volunteered to build the church out of blue, yellow, and gray native stone harvested from Duluth’s hillside near Twin Ponds. The Duluth Diocese took control of the church in 1968, and in 2010 closed. It is now an arts education center. Read more about the history of St. Peter’s here.

St. Peter’s Catholic Church, ca. 1927. (Image: Zenith City Press)