St. Louis City
The parish of St. Augustine was founded in 1874 to support the growing number of German Catholic immigrants in St. Louis. In 1896, the parish approved construction of this Gothic Revival brick church at 3114 Lismore, to replace the original church that the congregation had outgrown. The new church was considered a ‘prestigious example of German Catholic Achievement’, supporting more than 2,000 congregants. The church was designed by German-born architect Louis Wessbecher who followed the local practice of expressing ethnic and religious distinctions through the building’s interior plan. In this example, Wessbecher incorporated a German “hall” plan common in Gothic-style German churches dating to the 13th century. In 1928 a large Tudor-style rectory was constructed immediately south of the church, replacing an earlier rectory. St. Augustine’s supported a large parish until the mid- 20th century, when the neighborhood began to decline. The property was purchased in 1982 by Christ Baptist Church, which sold the building to the Last Awakening Outreach Center, which utilized both the church and rectory until 2014. Afterward, the church sat vacant until February 2020, when a non-profit organization, Project Augustine, purchased the property, saving it from auction. While Project Augustine hopes to restore the church and repurpose the space as a community center, there is much work to do. St. Augustine is in peril due to theft, vandalism, and decay that occurred during the time that the church was vacant. The interior vaulting of the church has collapsed, nearly all of the building’s original copper has been stolen, and holes in the roof and missing windows allow full exposure to the interior. The adjacent rectory is in similar condition, albeit on a smaller scale. Current estimated cost for repairs is estimated as $10 million. While restoration will take time, the immediate goal is to raise sufficient funds to stabilize the building from further deterioration by repairing the roof and securing the structure. Project Augustine hopes that by listing St. Augustine as a Place in Peril, they will garner the attention needed to raise funds for preservation and attract donated materials and services. More information on Project Augustine and how you can help can be found at projectaugustine.org.
You can also follow Project Augustine on their social media accounts!
Article on Project Augustine
August 4, 2021