The first site for St. Peter Church was the old state capitol building, now the home of the Governor’s Mansion. Local Catholics presented a petition to the General Assembly to purchase the building as the first church. The governor and the Senate approved, but the petition failed the House of Representatives by four votes. A site for the new church was found on Broadway Street, which was bought for $600. St. Peter was then constructed in 1845 under Father Helias. After construction was completed in 1846, the Archbishop named Fr. James S. Murphy the first resident priest. Fr. Murphy dedicated the new church and named it in honor of St. Peter, one of the twelve disciples. The Jefferson Inquirer, the city newspaper at the time, declared the new brick building to be the “handsomest building in the city.”

The new church quickly grew as more families joined the church. The church started with nine families, and by 1855 had grown to 40 families. The young church served the community for 12 years until the growth of the Catholic population forced the construction of the second and present St. Peter church structure.


The present church was designed by Adolph Druiding and constructed by Fred H. Binder. The church was built in pure gothic style with a seating capacity of seven hundred. The tower contains four bells cast by the Struckstede Foundry with a total weight of 8,000 pounds, purchased at a cost of $1,354. The interior of the church is also in classic gothic style. Two tiers of fourteen pillars support the ceiling, which divide the church into three different naves, which is the main part of the interior of a church. The center showcases statues of St. Peter, who was the first pope, and St. Paul. The church also holds the shrine to the Blessed Mother, which contains statues of St. Agnes, the patroness of virgins, and St. Rosa of Lima, the patroness of South America. The new church’s service began on February 2, 1883 when the first Mass was celebrated under Monsignor Hoog.

In 1888, St. Peter’s Interparish School was founded. In 1911, during the fire at the state capitol building, the Missouri State House of Representatives used the St. Peter’s School library to conduct business for the remainder of that legislative session. St. Peters’s Church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 18, 1976. Mass is held every Saturday and Sunday.

 

 

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