Since 1876 the 1200 block of Throckmorton Street has been the center of Catholicism in Fort Worth. The Fort Worth parish was organized that year, and Father Thomas Loughrey was assigned as the first resident priest.
Fort Worth had few churches and fewer church buildings in 1876. Methodists had a new building at 4th and Jones streets, but Catholics met in the home of T. I. and Rose Carrico on Rusk (Commerce) Street, and Baptists and Presbyterians met in the Masonic Hall. Fort Worth also had at least two African-American churches that were not listed in the newspaper’s “churches” column.
But in 1876 the Catholic parish built a wood-frame church on Throckmorton Street and dedicated it to Polish Jesuit Saint Stanislaus Kostka. No longer would the city’s Catholics have to meet in private residences to hold services, led by a circuit-riding priest, such as Reverend Vincent Perrier of San Angelo. Oliver Knight writes in Fort Worth: Outpost on the Trinity that Perrier as early as 1870 made two trips a year and then one trip a month to Fort Worth to hold services in private homes.
This detail of the 1886 Wellge bird’s-eye-view map shows the 1876 St. Stanislaus church, labeled “C” on its roof.
On October 30, 1876 the Daily Fort Worth Standard reported that Father Loughrey had held Fort Worth’s first high mass in the new church building.
In 1884 Father Jean Marie Guyot replaced Father Loughrey. French-born Father Guyot asked the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur, a Belgian order, to come to Fort Worth to teach the parish children.
On August 14, 1885 the Fort Worth Gazette ran an announcement for St. Ignatius Academy below an ad for Add-Ran College in Thorp Spring. Addison and Randolph Clark in 1873 had founded the college that would become TCU. On September 14, 1885 the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur opened St. Ignatius Academy boarding school “for young ladies” at 1222 Throckmorton Street with three teachers and twenty-six students.
On December 16, 1888 the Gazette reported that a contract to build a new building for St. Ignatius Academy had been let.
On January 29, 1889 the cornerstone of the new St. Ignatius Academy was laid. J. J. Kane, who designed St. Joseph Hospital, was the architect. Clip is from the Gazette.
On September 2, 1889 St. Ignatius Academy opened in its new home. The September 3 Gazette report indicates that the school was now open to boys.
Ad is from the 1899 city directory.
St. Ignatius Academy in 1948. (Photo from University of Texas at Arlington Libraries W. D. Smith Commercial Photography Collection.)
By 1910 the academy had outgrown its building. The sisters built their Academy of Our Lady of Victory on Hemphill Street, designed by Sanguinet and Staats. OLV was a boarding school. St. Ignatius became a day school.
Oakwood Cemetery has a section for the Sisters of St. Mary of Namur.
Meanwhile, on October 14, 1888 the cornerstone for a new church building was laid in the 1200 block of Throckmorton Street. The new church would stand just a few feet north of the old St. Stanislaus church. Among the stone masons working on the building was Andrew Gilchrist. The architect again was J. J. Kane. Clip is from the October 15 Dallas Morning News.
Almost four years after the cornerstone was laid, on July 10, 1892 the new church was dedicated. The church was named “St. Patrick” by vote of the largely Irish congregation. Clip is from the July 11 Dallas Morning News.
Father Guyot, born in 1845, died on August 3, 1907 and is interred in a crypt in the church basement. Clip is from the August 3 Telegram.
This detail of an 1891 bird’s-eye-view map by American Publishing Company shows St. Ignatius Academy on the left and St. Patrick Church on the right. What? You say there is something “not right” about that depiction of St. Patrick’s? Indeed. The building was still under construction in 1891, but the map projects how the church was expected to look when complete: crowned by twin bell towers. Those towers were never built.
This 1893 map labels the towers “not finished.”
But this sketch and caption from the August 4, 1907 Telegram indicate that even into the twentieth century the congregation of St. Patrick’s had not forgotten about those twin towers.
St. Ignatius and St. Patrick in Greater Fort Worth (1907).
Some views of St. Ignatius, St. Patrick, and the rectory:
The 1908 rectory stands where the 1876 St. Stanislaus Church had stood.