125 Years and Still Going Strong
We're extremely lucky to have three beautiful churches operating in Duquesne. Each of these buildings were constructed in the late 1800s, at a time when faith communities were segregated by ethnicity. A brief history of each Parish is below:
Holy Name Parish
Holy Name was established in the summer of 1890 and was originally named St. Killian. While the church was being built, Mass was celebrated in a nearby commercial building. A frame church was completed in 1891 and served the community until November 12, 1899, when a fire destroyed it. Once again, the congregation found a nearby commercial building to celebrate Mass while a new church was being built.
The cornerstone of the church was laid on July 30, 1899. At this time, the church was renamed Holy Name. The first Mass in the new building was celebrated on December 25, 1900. The completed building was dedicated on November 24, 1901. On March 29, 1928, lightning struck the steeple of the church, which was never replaced.
By the end of the century, the population of Duquesne dropped to the point that it could no longer support the number of parishes in existence. In February of 1994, Holy Name was merged with St. Hedwig to form Christ the Light of the World parish. Holy Name Church remains open today and serves the people of Duquesne and surrounding areas.
St. Hedwig Parish
St. Hedwig was established as a Polish parish in 1895, but little is known about the early history of the parish. The original St. Hedwig Church was dedicated on October 13, 1895, but the church was destroyed in a fire on January 13, 1928. A new church was built in 1930. The cornerstone was laid on September 7, 1930, and the church was dedicated on December 21, 1930.
By the 1990's the population of Duquesne could no longer support the number of existing parishes. In 1994, St. Hedwig merged with Holy Name parish to form Christ the Light of the World parish. St. Hedwig Church remains open and continues to serve the people of Duquesne and surrounding areas.
St. Joseph Parish
St. Joseph was founded in 1896 as a German Parish. At that time, the town was known as Germantown or Dutchtown because most of the inhabitants were German immigrants who came there to work in the local coal mines. Even before the parish was established, the Church had a presence in Duquesne. In 1869, a chapel, called St. Dominic, was built in the town. A priest from St. Agnes, West Mifflin, visited the chapel once a week and at some point, the chapel was also used as a school.
In 1895, the local German Catholics began organizing to form their own parish. In that year, they purchased a local school and remodeled it into a combined church and school. The upper floor was used as the school, and the first floor as the church. In 1896 a pastor was assigned to the parish and the first Mass in the new church was celebrated on Christmas Day of the same year.
In 1899, the pastor purchased two acres of ground next to St. Dominic Chapel for a cemetery. St. Dominic Chapel then became the cemetery chapel. This building was torn down in the 1960's.
By the turn of the century, the congregation had outgrown its original church. The building was physically moved to make room for a new church. The cornerstone of the new church was laid in 1903 and the completed building was dedicated on August 26, 1904. The original church was then converted to a school. When a new school was built in 1909, the first church building was remodeled into two dwellings. These were eventually torn down in the late 1950's or early 1960's.
The church was enlarged in 1915 and renovated in 1947 and again in 1962. St. Joseph Church remains open and continues to serve the people of Duquesne and surrounding areas.
**Thanks to local blogger Jim Volk of Duquesne Hunky for the historic photo of Holy Name Parish. Visit his blog for more Duquesne memories!