A History of St. John the Baptist Catholic Parish

The New Church

The principal task SJBHistory_cornerstone_6of the years that followed was the construction of a new church. The first work toward the building of the church was the breaking of ground on May 20th, 1930. The cornerstone was laid on July 6th, 1930. The ceremony was performed by Bishop Noll. The ceremony was large and well attended. Fr. Benedict was even in attendance and preached, receiving special warmth from the people.
The picture at the right was taken at the laying of the cornerstone. Quite a crowd was present on the day of the ceremony, Bishop Noll presiding.

SJBHistory_construction_07A Challenging Undertaking

The new church cost was $300,000. Collecting of funds was a daunting task given Fr. Kostik’s limited understanding of financial management and the onset of the Great Depression. Fr. Kostik ascribed the success of the effort to the patronage of the Little Flower under whose protection the project was placed. In this period of financial stress and strain, the parish lost only $340.

Parish debt in 1932 stood at $192,000 and was cleared by 1942. Interest paid out in the 11 years amounted to $80,000 which was a huge amount considering the total parish income of 1929 was only about $56,000. The tremendous financial burden, was remarkably shouldered by a parish family population of roughly 600 families! After construction was completed, parishioner ranks swelled to over 700 families in 1937.

The present day church is the work of Herman Gaul, a Chicago architect and is a monument to his artistic talent. Contractors were the Minuda Brothers. Other contractors ranged from Hammond plasterers, to Chicago interior stoneworkers to Wisconsin woodworkers, to lighting fixture experts from Kentucky.