Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Former Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, Jennings

Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church, built as the wave of migration to the suburbs picked up in the 1950's, is now a victim to that same migration that has continued further west. It is now closed, and converted into a senior center.
Unfortunately, as can be seen in these older photos of the church's interior, it is a unique building, and many of its original features are now gone.
As can be seen below, the owners have still not definitively fixed the ongoing roof problems, present since the time this was still a Catholic parish. Shingles have impaled themselves on the chain link fence below.
Likewise, this stone could use a good powerwash.
But from what I've seen from pictures, the stained glass must be truly wonderful to see from the inside.
Sadly, the parish house seen in the Built St. Louis photo has been demolished, and the school is closed, boarded up with now weathered plywood.
Upon closer inspection, the copper gutter was ripped back from its mooring along the roof. Was it just the weather, or has someone begun to scavenge for copper on this neglected building? The results are immediate, as the water is now running down the side of the building.
Across the street, a house sits abandoned. Did the owners once walk across the street to mass? Why is this house in this shape now?


  1. Tom Maher - KirkwoodApril 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    That was once quite a vibrant parish (the ex was in it).
    Like quite a few parishes, it operated a parish high school from (I think) the mid-'50s until the late '60s/early '70s.
    The LOCAL parishes that operated their own HS's, apart from the Archdicesan system: Corpus Christi, St. Peters in Kirkwood (Coyle), St. John the Baptist and St. Francis de Sales in South City. St. Anthony of Padua, also South, did as well, but it was unusual in that it was for girls only.
    St. John's was the last to close, in 2008.
    Coyle's building is now part of the St. Peter's GS complex (I went to that GS long ago).

    The Archdiocesan web site shows that the property was sold to the ALexian brothers and now contains offices (dunno how current that is, though).

    1. It's offices and a rec center for the elderly, from what we could see through the windows.

  2. "Was it just the weather, or has someone begun to scavenge for copper on this neglected building?"

    It wasn't the weather. The old school has recently been used as a local food shelter. Its always under attack from vandals. Most recently the copper wiring was stolen.

  3. Well, in part anyway, one can blame Chinese demand (now slumping, along with their economy) and GoldmanSachs hoarding (in vast warehouses; plug it into a search engine. Oh, I can hardly wait for the copper commodities markets to crash/snark off) for the ridiculously inflated price of copper these days. Of course, the other component in copper theft is the absolutely illegal practice of metal brokers accepting what are obviously stolen items.

    I mean really, patina-ed guttering and decorative trim, as well as entire pallets of stolen tubing, along with wiring which must obviously show signs of being wrenched from its source? Yeah, riiiiiight.

  4. Tom Maher - KirkwoodApril 5, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    This is OT, but - a couple of years I had occasion to drive up Jennings Station Road, a few blocks South of W. Florissant and the church.
    I noted this immense building that housed the Jennings Police Department and jail (and ONLY it/not City Hall) - WAY bigger than the poor city of Jennings needed. I mentioned this to a friend whose family business was in Jennings from the '40s until the later '60s.
    He said that the largest portion of the city's revenue comes from housing many federal and state prisoners in that building, prior to trial. Apparently the city identified a revenue source some years ago and followed Ray Kinsella's voice.
    I presume that is still a source, although the Jennings PD was disbanded and policing was outsourced some years ago to the County PD.


A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.