Community History – Ludlow – St. Boniface Church

St. Boniface Church

The German Catholics of Ludlow and vicinity requested permission from the bishop of Covington to establish a church in their community in 1870. Permission to proceed was received in 1872. At this time, a combination church and school building was constructed on Adela Street. The building housed the parish school on the first floor and the church on the second. The building, which still stands today, was dedicated by Bishop Augustus Maria Toebbe on November 3, 1872.

Originally, St. Boniface School was taught by layman. By 1881, enrollment had reached 51. The early lay teachers included: Frank Grousen, Mr. Alberhardy, Agatha Reardon and Charles Boehm.

St. Boniface Parish and School greatly advanced under the leadership of the Reverend Herman J. Kramer (1890-1903). Kramer arranged for the Sisters of Divine Providence to teach in the parish school. In 1892, the parish began constructing a new church. The Romanesque Revival structure was the largest church building in town. The new church was dedicated on August 13, 1893, with 2,000 participants on hand. The building was designed by Ludlow architect, John H. Boll. By 1900, St. Boniface Parish boasted a congregation of 510 members.

The new church was nearly destroyed by the 1915 tornado. The heavy winds left only the nave and tower standing. Parishioners raised $30,000.00 to restore the building, which was rededicated on August 13, 1916. Architect Howard McClory designed the reconstructed building.

The anti-German hysteria of World War I brought an end to German instruction at St. Boniface School in 1920. By the late 1920’s, St. Boniface Parish and School were growing. In 1928, the parish purchased a home on Church Street to be used as a rectory. In 1933, a two- room addition was added to the school building. At that time, enrollment was approaching 200.

St. Boniface Parish suffered from urban flight in the years following World War II. Catholics in great numbers began moving from Ludlow to the suburbs. School enrollment began to drop. In 1967, diocesan officials merged St. Boniface and St. James Schools. During its first year of existence, St. James-St. Boniface School enrolled 267 with a faculty consisting of five Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and four lay teachers. For a few years, both school buildings were used. However, in 1971, the entire school (grades 1-8) was housed exclusively in the former St. James School building.

In 1980, Bishop William A. Hughes announced the merger of St. Boniface and St. James Churches in Ludlow. St. Boniface Church, School and convent were sold to the

Bethlehem Baptist Temple of Cincinnati. The closing services at St. Boniface Church were held on March 16, 1980.

Schroeder, David E., United in Faith: A History of the Catholic Church in Ludlow, Kentucky 1872-1997.

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