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Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church

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c. 1880. North side of WV 61 at west end of town
  • Good Shepherd Roman Catholic Church (State Historic Preservation Office, West Virginia Division of Culture and History)

Wedged on a sloping site between highway and railroad to the south and the Kanawha River to the north, this small frame church with its prominent tower stands as a monument to the faith of Irish and Italian miners who came to the Kanawha coalfields following the Civil War. The mission was established in 1866, and the church, built a decade and a half later, stands as the oldest Catholic Church in the Kanawha valley. Fenestration and double-louvered openings in the belfry are topped with steeply pointed, triangular “arches,” providing an elementary Gothic flavor.

A concrete Celtic cross in the yard stands on sod “brought from Saint Patrick's Cottage in the gap of Dunlo, Killarney, County Kerry.” Mr. and Mrs. William Seymour Edwards, friends of the parish, brought the sod to the church after visiting Ireland in 1911 and presented it and the cross in 1912 “to the Sons and Daughters of Ireland in Kanawha County.” During the labor disputes of the early 1920s, the church served as a meeting place for union organizers.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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