All Souls Church grew from a seed planted by the School Sisters of Notre Dame who opened a mission school on Hood Ave., in Overland, in 1906. As Catholics were drawn to the area, a mission parish was begun by Father John Long, who traveled from All Saints Church in University City to offer Mass at the newly forming parish. The pastor directed the construction of a small frame chapel, erected on Hood Ave., using money, manpower, and materials donated by those first parishioners whose names included Alexander, Arenz, Barter, Bauer, Becker, Kist, Lambering, Miller, Murphy, Niehaus, Phelan, Powers, Schnell, Schwartz, Sprick, Steinkrueger, Tracy, Wenderik, and Willet.
In 1912 the founding mission in Overland officially became the first Catholic parish in the area when Fr. William Shea was assigned as the first resident pastor. By 1919, the parish school opened in a portable building and was staffed by the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Within a short time other families were moving to the area and into the parish including those with names like Altemueller, Bardgett, Bastar, Faeger, Kenny, MacDonald, Mohan, Thalen, Tucker, and Wurdack.
A permanent school building, which also housed a new church on the second floor, was erected in 1924 at the original site on Hood Ave., between West Milton and Tennyson avenues. During those early years of expansion when the parish boundaries of All Souls reached westward to the Missouri River, pastors included Fr. Albert Gass, Fr. William Fischer, and Fr. Walter Tucker who was installed as pastor in 1948.
It was Father Walter Tucker who, along with Archbishop Joseph Ritter, commissioned the construction of the church building that is located on the southeast corner of Tennyson and Hood avenues, today. Groundbreaking took place in February, 1950.
The structure is a clerestory type featuring English Gothic design incorporated into an Ashlar facing of Wisconsin Lannon stone and trimmed with Indiana limestone. Its architecture, with exterior dimensions of 141 feet in length and 61 feet in width, attractively complement the sloping lot on which the church stands. The interior pillars rest upon footings that are set in bedrock far below ground level. The building was designed by A.F. & Arthur Stauder and was constructed by John B. Gutman Construction Co. Its cornerstone was set in place on July 2, 1950, by Bishop Cody. One year later on July 22, 1951, the first Mass was celebrated in the new church.
During the following spring, in May of 1952, Archbishop Joseph Ritter visited the parish of All Souls to dedicate the new church. Construction of both the church and rectory as well as the purchase of furnishings and other appointments was completed at the cost of approximately $400,000. The building was designed to seat 700 worshippers, and has a center aisle measuring 110 feet in length. A full basement with parish hall, restrooms, and a boiler room are housed in the lower level.
As the parish thrived during the decades of the fifties and sixties, the school building was enlarged and a new convent was constructed on parish property in 1960. When Fr. John Kilcullen was named pastor of All Souls in the early 1970’s, central air conditioning was installed in the church building and a computer lab and other improvements were added to the school building. Over the years, though, student enrollment dwindled as demographics changed, and a decision was made to transfer students to a larger educational setting. All Souls School closed its doors in June, 2002.
As the new millennium began, plans were made to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the construction and dedication of All Souls Church. On May 26, 2002, a special Mass and reception were held to commemorate the original dedication of the church in 1952. Archbishop Justin Rigali, several priests formerly of the parish, and many past and present parishioners came together for this event. At the same time, the parish community was also embarking on a one million dollar capital campaign for the purpose of renovating the fifty-year-old building. Necessary improvements and repairs were planned in keeping with the traditional beauty of the church.
The most noticeable addition to the renovated church’s décor included the installation of an 8,000 square foot, porcelain tile floor. Restrooms were also modernized, the parish hall was updated, and a ramped entrance was added to the south side of the building. Pews were refinished, pillars and stone were cleaned, and walls were repainted. Also during this time, a stone sign replicating the look of the church’s exterior design was erected, and a new statue of Mary and Child became the centerpiece of a small garden on the front lawn of church. The statue, created in Italy from Carrera marble, is dedicated to the memory of bishops, priests, and religious whose home parish was All Souls Church or whose service to the Catholic Church brought them to this parish.
In 2012 All Souls Parish celebrated its 100-Year Anniversary with a year-long Centennial Celebration, culminating with a Mass and Reception held on June 24, 2012. This parish has now journeyed into the 100 years committed to serving area Catholics and the Overland community.
On behalf of the All Souls Parish community, we thank you for reviewing this website, and will warmly welcome your visit here whenever possible. Your interest in this holy and beloved church is greatly appreciated.