St. Patrick’s Church gets a major facelift

November 8, 2021 Theodore W. General
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Bay Ridge’s St. Patrick’s Catholic Church is undergoing a rehabilitation of its brick facade and exterior masonry. This  house of worship is the second church building to be erected on this site. The cornerstone was set in 1925 and the building was dedicated on Dec. 12, 1926. 

St. Patrick’s is the oldest Catholic congregation in Southwest Brooklyn. The first mass took place in 1843 at the Cummins’ family barn at 99th Street (then called Clark Street) and Shore Road. Later, holy services were held in the home of Peter Murphy on Fort Hamilton Avenue (now Parkway) near 95th Street (then known as Lafayette Street).  In 1849 the St. Patrick’s Mission was established, and by 1852 a plot of land was secured and a wood frame church was erected on the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Lafayette Street.

St. Patrick’s Church before the renovations began.

Prior to 1894, this area wasn’t even part of Brooklyn! It was known as the village of Fort Hamilton and under the aegis of the Town of New Utrecht. Of course, all that changed when the independent City of Brooklyn annexed the Town of New Utrecht, and in 1898 when Brooklyn became one of the five boroughs of New York City. That’s about the same time most of the former town-named streets were changed to numbered thoroughfares. It became necessary because Brooklyn streets already had similar names. 

The original wood-frame St. Patrick’s Church. Photo courtesy of Bay Ridge Historical Society

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