History

This brief history of St. Patrick’s was written by longtime parish member and teacher, Vicki Kuntzmann, the author of A History of St. Patrick’s Havana, Illinois 1867-2012. This accurate and historical book can be found in the church library. Other interesting facts may be found in the book in greater detail.

An out mission was organized for area Catholics after the Civil War. Priests from Peoria and Pekin served on a monthly basis. In 1872, Fr. Thomas Cashman oversaw the building of the original church on the northwest corner of Pearl and Jefferson Streets. The second resident priest, Fr. Patrick Devine, a young Irishman, accidentally drown in the river in 1879.

old church

The original church, after 70 years of service, was condemned in 1941 and the present church was erected on South Orange Street. The original pews, stations and statues were reused. Parishioners, along with Fr. John Crowley, did much of the manual labor. It was dedicated by Bishop Schlarman in March 1942.

CCD classes were held in various adjoining houses purchased for that purpose. In 1980 Fr. John Horton had a parish hall erected that attached to the church. The upper level serves as an office and CCD classrooms; the lower level a dining hall and kitchen.

In 1990 Fr. Eugene Radosevich did extensive renovations in the church including a new rectory south of the church. The old rectory was demolished to make room for a parking lot.

In 1877 Immaculate Conception Church of Manito, Illinois became, and remains today, a mission of St. Patrick’s. In 2014, that building was demolished. A new church, during the tenure of Fr. David Whiteside, was constructed in Manito in 2015. St. Mary’s church, in Lewistown, Illinois, also was an out mission of St. Patrick’s from 1920 – 1960.

St. Charles cemetery was purchased in 1881 by Fr. Clements. He specified that the southern third be separated and unconsecrated. It was reserved for babies not baptized, non-practicing Catholics and the like. This was a common practice in those days. Much speculation has surrounded the lone remaining tombstone of John Tully in this section. The coroner’s report (1893) attributed this 36-year-old fisherman’s death to “heart failure due to drunk whiskey.” May he rest in peace.