New Marker Tells History of St. Joseph Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church. Photo courtesy of Steve Wiser.St. Joseph Catholic Church. Photo courtesy of Steve Wiser.The Kentucky Historical Society (KHS) dedicated a new historical marker at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Louisville Saturday, May 14. St. Joseph celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.
Following the American Civil War, Louisville Bishop Martin John Spalding established St. Joseph to serve German immigrant families who lived near the stockyards in Louisville’s “Butchertown” neighborhood. The historical marker documents two church buildings — one dedicated on Jan. 6, 1866, and the present church, which was dedicated 20 years later. It also notes the addition of architectural features such as the church’s twin steeples in 1905-1906 — said to be the tallest in Louisville — and the Lourdes grotto in 1922.
The marker text also commemorates Franciscan and Ursuline leadership. Ursuline sisters staffed a school on the property from 1867 to 1975 and Franciscan friars operated the parish from 1875 to 2002. Since then, the Archdiocese of Louisville has provided a priest for the church. The church’s website notes that St. Joseph still serves an immigrant community — one that is Hispanic Latino.