ST. ANTHONY'S CHURCH (1886-1961) was the first Roman Catholic parish to serve Italian immigrants in Cleveland's HAYMARKET area. Fr. Pacifico Capitani first held services for Italians at ST. JOHN CATHEDRAL. A search was begun for a suitable church, and a frame hall on Ohio St. (Central Ave.) was purchased from a German Turners' society. Bp. RICHARD GILMOUR dedicated the hall on 8 May 1887 and placed it under the patronage of St. Anthony. The congregation was too impoverished to afford a school, but the URSULINE SISTERS OF CLEVELAND provided religious instruction for children. In 1904 the congregation built a Romanesque red-brick church at E. 13th and Carnegie.
By 1929 the original neighborhood had begun to disperse, but St. Anthony's still remained the center of Italian religious and cultural life. On 18 Sept. 1938, St. Anthony's parish was merged with a nearby Irish church, St. Bridget's, located at 2508 E. 22nd near Woodland Ave., whose parishioners had moved farther east. St. Anthony's took over a well-made plant complete with a Gothic church and school. (The original St. Anthony's building was transferred to ST. MARON congregation.)
Shifts in population caused parish enrollment to drop below 200 families by the early 1960s; urban renewal and the proposed INNERBELT FREEWAY threatened further decline. The diocese closed St. Anthony's church and school; the last mass was held on 11 June 1961. Later that summer parish structures were demolished to accommodate the freeway. The remaining parishioners joined St. Joseph's Parish on Woodland Ave.
Papers of St. Anthony. Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.