St. Louis church in need of help after landmark wall crumbles

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – St. Alphonsus Liguori “Rock” Catholic Church in north St. Louis is one of the most recognizable churches in the St. Louis area. Distinct limestone rocks used to build the church were also used to build a wall surrounding the property.   

It’s not clear when the wall was constructed but photos dating as far back as the early 1900’s show the wall in place.  

“Everyone knows the rock and the rock needs some help,” said Fr. Rodney Olive, assistant pastor.  

The problem began when church leaders recently noticed part of the limestone wall crumbling. As a precaution, the church decided to demolish a section of the wall. 

“It looked like the wall was basically just standing together because the rocks are on top of each other,” said Fr. Steve Benden, church pastor.  

The church then received a notice from the city of St. Louis halting the demolition until appropriate permits were granted.  The church was designated a City Landmark in 1976. The designation requires that any changes to the wall comply with the architectural integrity of the site.   

Benden said the church has since submitted plans that have been approved to rebuild the wall. The church is asking for financial help because it does not have enough funds to pay for the project.  

The church expects the total cost to be near $250,000. 

“We sincerely hope that we will get help from all over the country, but especially the St. Louis area,” said Monica Huddleston, chairperson of the church finances and administration commission.  

Anyone wishing to donate can do so through the church website. Donors are asked to contribute to the church building fund and indicate they would like their money to go towards the rebuilding of the wall in the comment section.  

The church was established 140 years ago and has been a fixture in north St. Louis. The church was racially integrated before the country was. Outreach programs have included regular barbecues to help provide food for the neighborhood.   

“It is the most beautiful church, as far as I’m concerned, in the city of St. Louis,” Huddleston said.  

She’s hoping someone will help restore the wall by making a big donation. 

“Miracles do happen,” Huddleston said. “We’re expecting one for our church.”  

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