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Saint Patrick's Church

 

 

St. Patrick Catholic Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas

 

 

 

   Starting out with meager beginnings in 1880, St. Patrick's Catholic Church was first built as a small frame church and rectory on Third & Magnolia Streets in Argenta. As the railroad expanded, the church relocated to Seventh Street between Olive & Cypress. Bishop Fitzgerald purchased the plot of land that had six lots and a frame church. Constructing a rectory and assigning Father James Brady to the parish of less than 75 souls happened in 1893.

      By 1895, a two-story frame school was built, and the children were taught by the Sisters of Mercy and Mother Joseph. In 1900, Father Alexis Demerger was appointed the new pastor of approximately 100 parishioners and built two more classrooms. Redecorating and modernization of the school rooms and church helped to grow the parish membership in 1923. By 1931 the new church on Maple between 19th & 20th was built with 4 classrooms. School enrollment increased, and expansions to the school structures happened in 1940 and again in 1947. 

     In 1954 Father Gregory H. Keller succeeded Msgr. Gaffney. Mass was held four times each Sunday, and the church was still overcrowded. By 1957 a new church and rectory were completed: the old rectory was remodeled into a convent and the old church was refashioned into 3 additional classrooms. New stained glass windows were donated by members of the congregation in the mid 1960s. 1973 the parish center was dedicated and by 1976 Father Doyle ignited the $100,000 mortgage of the center to the applause of hundreds of parishioners.

     Building inspectors left no choice but to remodel or rebuild a school to meet certain criteria. The congregation came together and came up with 30% of the $400,000 needed, so Bishop McDonald gave his approval. The new school was dedicated on Oct 19,1980. In the small natural area preserved between the convent and the church, a statue of St. Patrick stands a few feet from a time capsule scheduled to be opened in 2080. In 1989 the school was expanded again to include a science lab and concession stand, as well as an expanded parking lot across the street. The 100th birthday party of the school was held in the Parish Hall in 1995. St. Patrick's church is still going after over 130 years in North Little Rock, AR.