Originally published 4/29/2010
Assumption Catholic Church was the first Catholic parish in Evansville, but its fate was unbefitting of such a glorious building. Originally founded in 1836, the original church used to be located at 2nd and Sycamore Sts, but its success and growth warranted a grander building. In April 1871 a lot was purchased at Seventh St and Vine St, just catercorner from Old Central school. Work on the beautiful new Assumption church began July 7, 1872, when the cornerstone was laid and completed later that year at a cost of $75,000.
A school was erected in 1881 next to the church on 7th St. Continued growth demanded a larger school which was built in 1928 replacing the old one. The church prospered for years and when the Catholic church created the Diocese of Evansville in 1944, Assumption became the cathedral, or head church, for the area.
When Evansville planned to built a new Civic Center, Assumption found itself located within the proposed area. To boot, the downtown area had been experiencing mass exodus as residents flocked to the suburbs. With Holy Trinity and St Mary’s nearby, the downtown area could not support three Catholic churches. These factors combined made the decision to close the parish easier than it should have been. The church had to get approval from the Vatican to shut its doors, and the last mass was held January 17, 1965.
After showering the downtown area with its beauty for nearly a century, the church was razed in May 1965. The Winfield K Denton federal building, which houses the downtown post office, is now located on this site. Anyone who remembers this beautiful church can attest that it was one of the saddest losses in Evansville’s history.
Assumption Catholic Church at Historic Evansville.com