ST. WENCESLAS CHURCH was established in 1867, the first parish to serve Bohemian (Czech) Catholics in Cleveland. Services for the first Bohemian immigrants were held in ST. PETER'S, St. Joseph's, and ST. MARY'S ON-THE-FLATS. Bp. AMADEUS RAPPE established St. Wenceslas and placed it under the direction of Fr. Anthony Krasny. Property was bought on Arch (E. 35th) St. at Burwell. The cornerstone was laid on 20 Oct. 1867, and the first liturgy held on 22 Dec. 1867. By 1870 a rectory had been built and a school established. The first teachers were the Daughters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, replaced in 1876 by the Sisters of St. Joseph (CSJ), who staffed the school until it closed in 1962.
In 1886 the growing parish relocated to E. 37th and Broadway. The cornerstone was laid on 5 June 1892, and though not completed until 1899, the building was ready for use later that year. By the early 1920s, many parishioners had left the increasingly congested area. A number had settled in MAPLE HTS., and from 192326 services were held in a mission church there. On 15 Oct. 1926 it was decided to retain the Broadway church and establish the Maple Hts. church as a separate congregation which shared the same church's name. St. Wenceslas continued to serve dwindling numbers until July 1963, when the parish was closed and its building demolished to make way for Interstate 77. Besides the Maple Hts. parish, St. Wenceslas spawned the St. Procop, St. Adalbert, and Our Lady of Lourdes churches.
Papers of St. Wenceslas Parish, Archives, Diocese of Cleveland.
See also CZECHS; RELIGION; CATHOLICS, ROMAN.