ST. PETER CHURCH, the first GERMAN congregation formed in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, maintained the diocese's oldest church building in continuous use (1995), at 1533 E. 17th St. at Superior Ave. The parish originated in 1853, when Fr. John H. Luhr began to minister to the Germans who met at ST. MARY'S ON-THE-FLATS. The location was inconvenient, and property was bought at E. 17th and Superior on 10 Mar. 1854. West Side German Catholics worshipped on Columbus Rd. until their Church of St. Mary on Carroll Ave. was completed.
By the fall of 1854, a combination church-school building was completed. Fr. Luhr opened a second school for the growing congregation, St. Bernhard's, on Irving (E. 25th) St. (later the nucleus of St. Joseph's Parish). Begun in 1857, the second (present) church was dedicated on 23 Oct. 1859. The total cost was $36,000, raised in small donations. Religious soon replaced lay teachers: the Brothers of Mary (1863) and the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (1864). A larger school was completed by 1874. The SISTERS OF THE NOTRE DAME replaced the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart, and in 1922 took complete charge of the school. A 2-year commercial high school, begun in 1924, became a 4-year high school during the 1940s. The parish lost members as the area commercialized. The grade school closed in 1962. In 1971 St. Peter High School merged with the combined schools of Lourdes Academy and St. Stephen's High School, renamed Erieview Catholic High School, in the former St. Peter's building. In 1993, due to declining enrollment, the school closed.
From 1989-91 St. Peter's underwent a major $300,000 interior renovation. In the 1990s, St. Peter's established Adult Education and Outreach Services to supplement, and then replace, the high school program. In 1995 Fr. Robert Marrone served the church's 230 households.
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Papers of St. Peter's Parish, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.
See also RELIGION; CATHOLICS, ROMAN; and PAROCHIAL EDUCATION (CATHOLIC).