Parish History

/Parish History
Parish History 2017-05-15T18:43:43+00:00

BRIEF HISTORY OF SACRED HEART PARISH

Named a Co-Cathedral in 1974

Elevated to a Minor Basilica in 2009

1755 First known white persons to view future site of Charleston were captives of Shawnee Indians.
1773 One thousand thirty (1030) acres surveyed by Colonel Bullit.
1788 Birthday of “Charles Town,” “Clendenin Fort” “Town at the mouth of the Elk River.”  (1792 Fort Lee).
1790 Seven houses have been built outside the fort.
1794 December 19th:  Act of Virginia Assembly:  Establishment of Charles Town:  named by George Clendenin after  his father, Charles.  Kanawha Baptist Church organized.
 1797 Birth of General Lewis Ruffner, first white child.
 1821 First Methodist Church erected in Charleston (Quarrier and Hale.
 1830 First Presbyterian Church located in Charleston.
 1832 Catholic priest ministering in West Virginia.
 1833 Lottery set up to raise $10,000.00 to build streets. First Episcopal Church erected.  (St. John’s at Virginia and McFarland Sts.)
1836 Father Alexander L. Hitzelberger, priest from Norfolk, Virginia visits relatives in Charleston; preaches at courthouse.
1842 Bishop Richard Vincent Whelan of Richmond visits Charleston.
1846 Among other priests, Father John H. Walters, periodically visits Kanawha Valley from Springs (Monroe County) and Summersville.  U.S. Senator John Kenna and his sisters baptized at Coal River (St. Albans).
1862 Father Stenger settles in Charleston for short time; ministry hampered by Civil War.
1865 Beginning of Kanawha County Public School System.
1866 June 5:  Father Stenger settles in Charleston…Parish comprises 63 families of Kanawha, Clay, Putnam, Boone, Nicholas counties and part of Fayette County.  Only church in West Virginia is St. John’s in Summersville.  Sunday Masses are celebrated in Charleston on second floor of B. Ward’s store on Front Street. (Kanawha Boulevard).  July 8:  First recorded baptism by Father Stenger…Thomas Marooney in Peytona, Boone County.  Baptism and Masses at Summersville, Coalburg, Camp Piatt, Buffalo, Scott Station, Raymond City, Oaks Hollow, Brownstown (Marmet), Cannelton, Salt Works, Paint Creek, Hookersville, Webster County, Nicholas County, Malden, Campbell’s Creek, Beaver Creek, Blue Creek, etc… August 1:  Bishop Whelan purchases old “Dunbar” property with two story brick house at corner of Broad and Quarrier to serve as Church and school.  Also purchases strip of 1 1/4 acres and strip of two acres extending from Virginia Street to Lee Street.
1868-70 Catholic School closed.
1869 Frame church 60′ x 25′ build for $1,500.00 on site of present rectory on Virginia Street.  Used for worship for 28 years.  Rectory located on site of old courtyard.
1870 First assistant pastor, Rev. Terence I. Duffy assigned to Sacred Heart. Succession of assistant pastors: chapels built at various missions.  Immaculate Conception at Montgomery (Cannelton/Coal Valley).  Sisters of St. Joseph re-open school…St. Mary’s Academy (Boarding School) 1870-1895.
1872 School building replaced by new school building to be used until 1920.
1885 Father Stenger begins collection of funds for new church…financial assistance from prominent Protestants.
1887 Blessing of Mount Olivet Cemetery by Bishop John J. Kain.
1892 Parish census (excluding missions) counts 84 English families, 56 German families with 90 pupils in school.
1892-95 $600.00 spent for plans and specifications of new (present) Church.  H.B. Lowe of Lexington selected as architect…contract for materials and construction ($30,000.00) awarded to A.F. Withrow Lumber Co.  On July 28, 1895, Bishop P.J. Donahue lays cornerstone.
1893 Death of parishioner, Senator John Edward Kenna.  Funeral services in Washington D.C. followed by Mass of Christian Burial at Sacred Heart Church.
1892-1903 Sacred Heart without a Catholic School.
1897 Christmas…First Mass in new (present) church.
1900 Death of first pastor, Father Stenger…mourned by all segments of Charleston’s people.
1901 April…Capuchin priests begin ministry at Sacred Heart.
1902 Old Church on Virginia Street, used since 1897 as meeting space, replaced by (old) rectory. (back half of old rectory)…front additional section built in 1952.
1903 September…Franciscan Sisters of Penance and Christian Charity of Stella Niagara re-open school.  Present rectory (back or old section) used temporarily by Sisters of Stella Niagara.
1904 Sisters move into new convent…Capuchin Fathers move to rectory.
1905 First pipe organ.
1908 School enlarged with dormitory for resident girls.
1909 Erection of marble high altar…installation of stained glass windows from Munich, Germany.
1910 Ninth grade started and abandoned after one year.
1911 Installation of bells:

  • St. Richard…2060 lbs.
  • St. Joseph…1500 lbs.
  • Blessed Virgin…700 lbs.
1912 Laidley property purchased for Catholic hospital.
1920 Boy Scouts (Troop 2) and Girl Scouts started at Sacred Heart.
1920 September 8:  new grade school (present Seton Hall) completed.
1921 Sisters of St. Francis replaced by Sisters of St. Joseph at St. Francis Hospital.
1922 First high school courses taught.
1927 Purchase of J. E. Chilton property at 1108 Virginia St….remodeled for High School…purchase of additional lot.
1940 Bishop Swint lays cornerstone for new High School…occupied January 1941.  Sacred Heart High School renamed Charleston Catholic High School
1942 Grade school (present Seton Hall) remodeled.
1948 Old church pipe organ replaced by Wurlitzer electronic organ at a cost of $4,500.00…St. Cecilia’s Guild start weekly bingo to raise funds for new Kilgen pipe organ. ($31,832.48).
1950-51 Extensive renovation of interior of Sacred Heart Church.
1951 (Dunbar Building) corner of Broad and Quarrier demolished.  Over period of eighty-five years it had served as grade school, convent, rectory for Capuchins, school, even boarding some students, first high school, parish hall, parish library…
1952 Front half of present rectory built…first parish kindergarten started.
1953 Bishop Swint established Catholic Information Center on Quarrier Street with Father Boniface Weckmann O.F.M. Cap. as director.
1953-56 Father Eugene Cain O.F.M. Cap., pastor.   The northeast front exit from Church converted to baptistry; two sacristies remodeled; sacristy nearest school converted to “Cry” Room.  Third floor of High School built.
1958 New convent at 1114 Virginia Street completed (present Cenacle Retreat House). Purchase of present pews in Church. ($11,429.00).
1959 First ordination at Sacred Heart Church; Capuchin Father Michael Johnson of Sacred Heart Parish, Capuchin Father Samuel Driscoll of St. Anthony Parish and Father Andrew Arnold of the Wheeling Diocese.
1960 Stained-glass windows repaired.
1961 Bishop Joseph H. Hodges appointed Co-adjutor Bishop of Diocese.  Exterior of Sacred Heart Church sand-blasted pointed and waterproofed.
1962 Death of Bishop Swint.  Present grade school built ($521,140.00).
1965 Church bells electrified, new light fixtures installed, new front doors purchased, church and choir loft renovated for Parish Centennial.
1966 Purchase of North Parking Lot next to High School…sanctuary ceiling adorned with vibrant complex linear painting by artist John L. Baker.
1974 August 13… Boundaries of Diocese changed to include all and only West Virginia. October 4…Diocese of Wheeling changed to Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston with Sacred Heart Church designated as a Co-Cathedral.  Sanctuary renovated and refurbished.
1980 After ministering at Sacred Heart Parish for 79 years, Capuchin priests are replaced by Diocesan priests.  Rev.P. Edward Sadie becomes rector.
1980-84 Church air-conditioned; restroom build in church vestibule; start-up of Capital Funds Drive (G.I.F.T.) “Growth In Faith Together.”  Interior and exterior of Church renovated; stained glass windows restored; purchase of Old Kanawha Valley Hospital; purchase of new Schantz 60 rank Pipe Organ; installation of new intercommunication system and fire/smoke detection system for the grade school.
1985 Dedication of John XXIII Pastoral Center:  Death of Bishop Joseph H. Hodges; Pope John Paul II appoints Bishop Francis B. Schulte as 6th Diocesan Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston.
1986 Bishop Schulte “welcomed as pastor” of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral parish; building of a parking lot on Old Kanawha Valley Hospital property; construction of new playground next to rectory; plans announced to enclose playground space under school as parish activity center…plan announced to remodel the one section of the Old Kanawha Valley hospital left standing as space for Parish meetings/programs; plans announced to study feasibility of building Chapel/Mausoleum at Mt. Olivet Cemetery; Phase II (G.I.F.T.) “Growth in Faith Together announced.”
1987 Christian Service Committee began in parish under direction of Father Frank Neville, Associate Rector.  Renovation of Annex Building for After School Care.   Church sanctuary carpeted.  Purchase of new Bishop’s Chair, Ambo and  Altar, built by Edward Hillenbrand, Furniture maker.  Began construction of new multi-purpose room at the Parish Grade School.  Capital Fund Drive under way.
1988 Rev. Robert Herrick named as Associate Rector at Sacred Heart.  Remaining Church furniture purchased.  Dedication of the Cathedral by Bishop Schulte.  Maintenance building added on the Parish parking lot at the back of Sacred Heart Center.  Purchase of new basketball equipment for Grade School multi-purpose room.
1989 Property at corner of Quarrier and Broad Streets acquired for school parking.  Initiated DeSales program for Adult Religious Education.  Built new playground for Day-Care.  Removed Asbestos from CCHS, SHGS, and Seton Hall.  Replaced roof, boiler at CCHS. – Preliminary plans for renovation of Seton Hall for the use of Sacred Heart Grade School.
1990 Rev. Casey Mahone appointed Associate Rector. Completed renovation of Seton Hall for classrooms on second and third floors;  1st floor used for After School Care Program.  Established St. Camillus Society (50 volunteers) to visit and take communion to the sick/homebound parishioners.
1991 Sale of Virginia St. Convent.  Remodeling of Ruffner Avenue Convent.
1992 Capital Fund Drive to raise begun $3.5 million dollars to build Science/Math center at CCHS and to renovate existing CCHS facility;  Acquisition of property contiguous to SHGS Parking Lot for additional parking;  Purchase of large building at S.W. corner of Virginia and Dunbar Sts. for future parish use.
1993-94 Purchased additional lot on Broad Street for parking Sacred Heart Parish and School staff. Removed old apartment and paved lot.  Purchased General Seafood property on Broad Street.  Purchased Riverview Terrace to be used as a complex for the elderly – made possible in part through the generosity of Blanche and Maxine Horan who lift their estate to Sacred Heart Parish.

Began construction on a new science wing at Charleston Catholic High School. Raised over 2.5 million dollars

Began construction on a new science wing at Charleston Catholic High School. Raised over 2.5 million dollars for the project.  Kneelers in the Church were repaired and re-padded.  New associate, Father Walter Jagela, named to Sacred Heart in June, 1994.

 1995  New associate, Father John McDonough named to Sacred Heart.  Opened Riverview Terrace for Independent Living in December.  Purchased and leveled two apartments contiguous to Riverview for future expansion.  Purchased property at corner of Kanawha Boulevard and Dunbar for future expansion.
 1996  Leveled property on Kanawha Boulevard and Dunbar Streets formerly known as “Reliable Mortgage.”  Parish has future plans for the site.
 1997 Announcement of Cordis Center (Office tower for downtown Charleston) for the benefit of education.  Parish considering hiring development officer.  Riverview Terrace is half filled and prospects are very good at this time for total occupancy.  Plans announced for joint project with First Presbyterian Church in Charleston and Habitat for Humanity to build two houses in the East end of Charleston.
 1998 In February, parish hired Mark A. Sadd as Development Director along with secretarial assistance.  Parish hired a full-time Pastoral Assistant.  Two Habitat houses built in the East end of Charleston in a period of two weeks.  New associate Father Paul Hudock named to Sacred Heart in June of 1998.
 1999 Purchased property at 1113 Quarrier St.; Razed house and build parking lot there; arranged to purchase  house at 1115 Quarrier Street at a future date; no later than 5 years; signed an agreement to purchase, at a later date, 50000 square foot Charleston Newspaper property directly across from Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral Church; established St. Michael the Archangel parish council of the Knights of Columbus; initiated monthly Sunday youth Mass.
 2000 Began process of remodeling Cenacle Retreat property for Parish offices.  Continued negotiations for CN parking lot property across from the Church.
 2001 Moved parish offices to 1114 Virginia Street East.  Purchased CN parking lot across from the Church. Continued on plans for a new gathering space and new sacristy.  Continues to work on new apartments to house Sacred Heart Clergy on upper level of Office building (formerly Cenacle Retreat House)
 2002 Continued to work on completion of Sacred Heart Offices (called Cordis Center).  Started construction of Sacred Heart addition.  Moved playground for Sacred Heart Grade School students to corner of Dunbar and Virginia on old Kanawha Valley Hospital property.  Added new equipment to playground.  Put playground for Sacred Heart Day Care Center with grade school playground.
 2003 Completed Cordis Center for Office and residential space.  Church renovation in process.  New landscaping and parking lots in process, new playground completed, organized ladies auxiliary of the Knights of Columbus, organized hospitality committee for various parish functions, organized beautification committee to care for parish grounds, began (CBN) Catholic Business Network, an organization for business people in the area to come together for monthly luncheons and hear a speaker on various topics of interest.
2004 Completed Church renovation; completed exterior gardens/landscaping across from Leon Sullivan Way and also in front of the new entrance on Virginia Street;  relocated maintenance shop to newly build facility behind Cordis Center; renovated old maintenance for headquarters for “Gabriel Project” to assist pregnant women and new mothers in need; installed new HVAC in Sacred Heart Grade School. Hosted Jewish and Muslim leaders with president of Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue (Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald) and dedicated the “Abrahamic” tapestry.
2005 Purchased 1024-26 Quarrier St. for Family Life Center. Associate, Father John Mulcahy assigned to Sacred Heart.
2006 Installed new windows in SHGS – Repainted Seton Hall and replaced all computers in SHGS.  Purchased and razed Jordon Property. For future development. Began remodeling 1024-1026 building (formerly Masters Tuxedo) for a new Family Life Center for parish activities.  Relocated the Choir room to the new Family Life Center along with the parish scouting program.  Parish Knights of Columbus set up a council home in the Family Life Center.  Paved Riverview and Virginia Street lots.  Commissioned an artist (John Collier) to design and create bronze statues of the Annunciation and the Tree of Life with the Crucified Christ at a cost of $400,000.00.
2007 Finished paying the debt on the purchase of 1115 Quarrier Street. Sacred Heart Gardens are completed and ready for installation of Statues. Parishioners have accepted the responsibility of keeping the Gardens in front and around the Church maintained.  (1115 Quarrier Street, known as Dr. Howard property) razed for future development. New associate, Father Douglas Ondeck was assigned to Sacred Heart.
2008 Rented space in Family Life Center to Wheeling Jesuit University for their post-graduate program.  Installed “Annunciation Statue and Tree of Life Statue in the Gardens in front of the Church.  First outdoor procession on the Feast of the Assumption, August 15th.
2009 Father Carlos Melocoton, Jr. assigned to Sacred Heart Parish.  He is put in charge of parish youth program, ministry at Charleston Catholic High School and Sacred Heart Grade School, Chaplain for the Charleston Serra Club, University of Charleston Campus Ministry, as well as his responsibilities as associate at Sacred Heart Parish.  In November, 2009, Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral parish was elevated to the rank of a Minor Basilica.
2010 Investiture of Sacred Heart Co-Cathedral Church as Minor Basilica took place on Sunday, June 20, 2010, at the noon Mass.  Most Rev. Michael J. Bransfield, Bishop of the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston celebrated the Mass and blessed the Ombrellino and the Tintinnabulum, symbols of a Minor Basilica. Through the generosity of a long time parishioner, the ombrellino, fabricated in Belgium and the tintinnabulum, made in Italy were donated to the new basilica, arriving in time for the celebration.
2011 Project began for a new building to house a care facility for young children and new gymnasium on the property located on the corner of Leon Sullivan and Dunbar.
2012 The Sacred Heart Pavilion and Early Learning Center completed.
2013 Father Ryan Stichweh, assigned to Sacred Heart Parish.  He is made Chaplain of Charleston Catholic High School, Sacred Heart Grade School, and Chaplain for the Charleston Serra Club as well as associate at Sacred Heart Parish.
2014 The Quarrier Building (1033) is gifted to Sacred Heart to expand the Sacred Heart Grade School.  Renovations began with projected completion for the 2014-2015 school year.  This renovation, complete with elevators, allows the Sacred Heart Grade School to be handicapped accessible for the first time.