St. Joseph Church was organized in 1870 by the German members of St. Stephen. Their first building, built in 1871 at Triplett and McFarland (9th) burned by a fire caused by lightning. In 1878, they bought a lot at the southeast corner of 4th and Clay and completed their new building in 1880.
When St. Stephen Church couldn’t accommodate the growing congregation, St. Paul’s Church was formed, announcing December 1886.
Most of the founders of St. Paul Church were associated with the distilleries of Owensboro. These Irish “whiskey people” didn’t like to associate with the Germans. A small temporary church was built on the corner of 4th and Pearl and completed in March, 1887, and by July, they had broken ground on a new lot where the current St. Joe & Paul still stands today at the northeast corner of 4th and Bolivar.
In April of 1948, Bishop Francis R. Cotton announced that the who parishes would merge. In order to minimize friction between the two, St. Joseph Church stayed open for two Masses on Sunday and one during the week, while all others were held at St. Paul’s Church.
In 1978, declining enrollment and rising fuel costs caused St. Joseph to finally close. After four years of trying to find a use for the church and no one having the funds to repair it, the building was demolished in March 1990.
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