Saturday, December 05, 2009

St. Boniface Church sesquicentennial

Today I'm taking another break from the Knott series to talk about the sesquicentennial (150 years) of St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim. They kicked off their year-long celebration last weekend with an all-too-brief, but outstanding, historical exhibit.
The photo above shows their second church, built in 1879. The photo was taken after 1891, after the building was moved to Harbor and Chartres. The photo below shows their third church, which was built in 1902 and torn down in 1964.

Stephanie George and Carlota Haider created the exhibit. Stephanie writes, "It’s difficult to determine the date on which the first Mass was said in the burgeoning town, although sometime after 1865 seems likely. Traveling priests from San Gabriel Mission and the Plaza Church in Los Angeles frequented the area for sacraments and by 1869, the Catholic community had built a small church on a lot deeded to them from the Anaheim Water Company.
"In 1875, they were officially established as a parish in the diocese of Monterey-Los Angeles. It was at this time that San Antonio de Padua de Santa Ana, the public chapel built in 1860 by funds provided by Bernardo Yorba, was designated a “mission” of St. Boniface and their sacramental records transferred to the church in Anaheim. It’s because of this that St. Boniface traces its roots to Yorba’s chapel and claims 1860 as its genesis.
"The current edifice is the fourth building the Church has occupied at three different locations in the downtown area. After tearing down the first building in 1879, a second New England-style wooden clapboard church was erected on the same property on Cypress Street. This building was moved to another location in 1895 on Harbor at Chartres. In 1902, construction began on a brick Gothic-style building on the northwest corner of Harbor and Lincoln which served the parish for sixty years until the growth of the Catholic population, fueled by the post-World World II baby boom required a new building--constructed in 1963-1964--which remains today."
The photo above shows the current church when it was brand new. Notice that the landscaping wasn't even in yet. The photo below shows the 1902 church at Christmas in 1960 -- ending this post on an appropriately seasonal note.


Kevin Kidney said...

Wow, I love the sculpture on the face of the current building. It's really neat. We drove by it just yesterday, as a matter of fact.

WillW said...

My name is Will Wiebe and my parents, Arnold and Wilda Wiebe were married in the 1902 Church in the year of 1928.

My Mother, Wilda went to Catholic grade school on the grounds of the 1902 St. Boniface Church.

Her mother, Christina Pohlmann and her family were long time parishoner's of St. Boniface.

Christina and her husband settled in Anaheim in the late 1800's and early 1900's. They lived on a 10 acre orange ranch on 2333 West lincoln Ave for almost 70 years.

They had 5 children, all attended St. Boniface Grade school and Church in the 1920's, 1930's, 1940's, 1950's and 1960's.

So we have rich history with the early part of St. Boniface Church.

I was very saddened to see the 1902 Church torn down to make room for the existing Church. The 1902 Church was beautiful.

My last visit to the current church was in 2007, were I brought my mom home for her funeral at St. Boniface, the church we she grew up in as s little girl, were she was baptized, received her first communion, confirmation, married and were I was baptized.

With love and care

Will Wiebe
Portland, Oregon