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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history

12. Religion,   pp. 208-226

Page 211

and the building was sold to a private citizen. Later that year, the new priest assigned to St.
Patrick's negotiated a way to reopen the church and retire the debt. (St. John Vianney Church-
Dedication 1965:27-28; Souvenir of Diamond Jubilee Homecoming 1925:n.p.; Brown 1908:288-
By 1908, St. Patrick's church had a membership of 2,500 people, and a thriving parochial
school program. The parochial school, begun almost as soon as the church was founded, was
held in the basement of St. Cuthbert's and St. Patrick's churches. After St. Joseph's convent was
built, the school moved into that building (not extant). In 1920, a new parochial school building
was erected at 305 Lincoln St., a building still in use today. (Souvenir of Diamond Jubilee
Homecoming 1925:n.p.; Brown 1908:289)
The Sisters of Mercy, who staffed St. Patrick's parochial school and church, were also
responsible for the development of Janesville's modem hospital. In 1907, members of the Sisters
of Mercy took over the Palmer Memorial Hospital and, as Mercy Hospital developed it into an
outstanding regional facility. (See the Social and Political Movements chapter.) (St. John
Vianney Church-Dedication 1965:29-30)
Two historically significant buildings related to St. Patrick's Church are potentially
individually eligible for the National Register of Historic Places because of their association
with the historic St. Patrick's congregation. They are the church building at 301 Cherry St.
and the parochial school building at 305 Lincoln St. These buildings are currently listed in the
National Register as contributing resources in the Old Fourth Ward Historic District.
Another historically significant Catholic Church in Janesville is St. Mary's Catholic Church,
founded in 1875 to ease overcrowding at St. Patrick's and provide German-language services for
German Catholics in the city. In the spring of 1876, the St. Mary's congregation began
construction on a church building (not extant) on the site of the present church (313 E. Wall St.).
At the end of July, the small wood-frame church opened for services, but it was not large enough
for the congregation. An addition was completed by November 1876. (St. John Vianney
Church-Dedication 1965:27; Brown 1908:289)
By 1898, St. Mary's congregation had 325 families, who were actively studying the issue of
building a new and larger church building. In 1899, they hired noted local architect Frank
Kemp to draw plans for the building. In 1900, the old church was moved to the north of the lot
and the new church was begun on the old site. The new St. Mary's Church was completed by
June 1902 and still serves the congregation today. (St. John Vianney Church-Dedication
1965:29; Brown 1908:290)
In 1913, St. Mary's congregation remodeled the first floor of the old church building for use as a
parochial school (not extant). The school began with 96 pupils in six grades taught by three
Dominican Sisters. By 1916, seventh and eighth grades were added to the school. In 1919, the
school was extensively remodeled to accommodate increased attendance. Additional land was
acquired in 1922 and 1926, and in 1929, a new parochial school opened. This school, located at
307 E. Wall St., still serves the congregation today. (St. John Vianney Church-Dedication
1965:30-33; Brown 1908:290)

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