A Brief History of S.S. Peter and Paul
S.S. Peter and Paul Parish was founded in 1866 in what is now part of the Diocese of Toledo and is currently a member of the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Deanery. When initially founded, the Parish was established to serve the German population of south Toledo. St. Mary Catholic Church was already serving the German speaking community, but because of the ever increasing number of German Catholics in south Toledo, then Bishop Rappe saw that there was a need for a second German speaking parish in that part of town.
The building of the first combination church and school was completed in December of 1866 and served the parish well for several years. However, the German population of south Toledo continued to grow, and the congregation quickly outgrew that first church. Construction of a new church building began in 1873 and was completed in December of 1875. After the new church was dedicated, the old church/school building was remodeled, making that entire building the school. This newly remodeled school also served the parish well, much like the first church had, but continued growth called for additional expansion and remodeling of the school building at the turn of the 19th Century.
On Monday, February 7, 1926, a fire destroyed the interior of the church building and nearly destroyed the parish itself. Estimates of the damage were near $100,000.00, and there was some doubt about being able to come up with that large amount of money. However, the church held a fund drive and the parishioners responded to the call and raised the money needed to repair the damage. Services were held in the school gymnasium while the repairs to the church building were being made. The interior renovation was completed and the church building was reopened in early November of 1926.
Several times throughout the history of SS. Peter and Paul Catholic Church there were sharp declines in their membership. When the Great Depression hit, many families left the area in search of work, and the parish saw a sharp decline in membership, but was able to survive.
Then there was the urban renewal in Toledo's South End in the early 1960's, that forced many familes out of the area and into other parishes. Construction of the new Toledo Main Post Office eleminated the homes of several parishioners. The construction of the I-75 bridge in south Toledo also took away a large number of homes, and cut the area where the church and school are located off from the rest of the city. Membership once again declined, but once again, the parish survived.
The Diocese of Toledo closed the Mexican Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1963, and most of the members from the Mission joined SS Peter and Paul parish.
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