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St. Alphonsus Church: Cornerstone Laid, August 1, 1886

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▶ St. Alphonsus Church: Newspaper Article

- from The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, August 2, 1886, p. 4.



The Scene of Impressive and Interesting Ceremonials Yesterday afternoon. Thousands of People Witness the Exercises — Contents of the Stone.

The corner stone of the new St. Alphonsus Church was laid yesterday afternoon. The exercises were impressive and beautiful, and the attendance larger than at any similar event in the city for years. Fully ten thousand people were present at different times, and more than half that number stood in the broiling sun throughout the entire service. Among the crowd were many from abroad, large excursions having come from Canton, O., Pittsburgh and other places. The scene when the uniformed societies, the clergy in their robes and hundreds of women in gay attire were grouped about the platform erected near the corner stone, was a picturesque and memorable one.

Just before the exercises the societies which were present marched from the hall of the Knights of St. George, corner of Market and Fourteenth streets, to the church on Market street between Twenty-first and Twenty-second. The procession was headed by the Independent Cornet band, of Pittsburgh, and the Knights of St. George of this city followed in full uniform with 42 men in line. This commandery has always made an impressive appearance, marching well and bearing themselves in a knightly manner which won many encomiums. The turnout was especially creditable.

The following them came Co. A. of the Knights of St. George, South Side, Pittsburgh, also in full uniform. They had 24 men in line and made a splendid appearance.

Mayer's band followed and behind it marched the Knights of St. John, of Wheeling, their bright helmets and waving plumes setting off their regular and soldierly line to good advantages. They were the recipients of many compliments.

St. Augustinus and St.Fidelius societies, of Pittsburgh, and St. Alphonsus society, of this city, brought up the rear. They were not in uniform, but numbered more than the uniformed societies in line.


At the church the exercises were opened with a German hymn written especially for the occassion by Rev. Father Antonius, who is as well the architect of the new building. This was sung by a large male chorus, the accompaniment being by Mayer's brass band, which in this and all its other music acquitted itself creditably.

Rev. Father Antonius then delivered a brief introductory address in German, after which the members of the clergy present, nine in number, marched about the walls of the structure, sprinkling the foundations with holy water. Monsignor Sullivan conducted this service, The clergy then returned to the platform, where an appropriate service was celebrated, all the ministers participating under the leadership of Monsignor Sullivan. In addition to Rev. Fathers Sullivan and Antonius there were present Rev. Fathers Angelus and Marcus, of the Capuchin priesthood; Mullen of the Church of the Immaculate Conception; Parks of Mt. de Chantal; Schlip, of the Cathedral, and Klatz, of St. Joseph's.

Monsignor Sullivan and Rev. Father Klatz made appropriate addresses, and two additional hymns, both composed especially by Rev. Father Antonius, were sung with full band accompaniment. The corner stone was then formally laid.


A metal box was soldered shut by Mr. Stifel, and placed in the stone in a cavity cut for the purpose, and cemented in its place by Mr. Schiele, after which the covering stone was let down upon it.

In the box were placed a copy of Saturday's INTELLIGENCER and Volksblatt, a copy of the Peoria Democrat of a recent date, containing an article in reference to the church, the words of Father Antonius's hymns, the history and constitution of St. Alphonsus Society and the history of the church; the history and constitution of the Knights of St. George; a copy of Leo, a European Catholic periodical; a copy of the Pittsburgh Beobachter; a number of American and foreign coins, and a roster of the Wheeling city officials and Council.

On the east side of the stone, which is at the north-east corner of the building, is the following inscription:

Fundata 1856 
Redificata Amplificata
1 AUGUSTI 1886.

After the stone was in its place it was sprinkled with holy water and blessed. A prayer and a closing hymn finished the exercises, and the large crowd then marched about through the plat of the building. The foundation walls were profusely decorated with trees and flags. The interior of St. Alphonsus hall, adjoining, where services are now held by the congregation, were also handsomely decorated. Here at the morning services St. Alphonsus society took communion in a body.

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