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From 1924 to 1926, the third and present St. Stephen’s Church was built here on Locust Street. It cost $100,000 to build and at the time was considered one of the "most beautiful and interesting buildings in the South." It was the pride of the city and its many citizens, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, contributed money to help fund the building. The building is a cruciform shape and has large rose windows in each of the transepts as well as in the facade. It is made in the Italian Lombardian style of architecture and was designed by Louisville architect Fred Erhart. In the belfry hangs the bell from the previous church along with a set of Deagan Tower Chimes. It was designated a “Cathedral” in 1938. The stained glass windows were installed after the first dedication of the building in 1926. The bishop’s cathedral (chair) was added in 1938. In 1970, following the Second Vatican Council, the high altar was removed, and mosaics and other sanctuary furnishings were installed. On November 18, 2012, Bishop Medley re-dedicated the Cathedral after a year's long restoration.

  • Front of St. Stephen cathedral after the latest renovation in 2012
  • Exterior of St. Stephen's previous location at 2nd and Mulberry streets
  • interior of St. Stephen's previous location at 2nd and Mulberry streets

In the early days of the county, Catholic settlers would gather at private residences where traveling priest Rev. B.J. Durbin would officiate mass. The first official religious services of the Catholic faith were held at a log cabin on the farm of William Coomes about a mile below town by Rev. John Wathen. The log cabin was used from 1835- 1839 when the need for a larger space became imminent. This same Rev. Wathen organized and built the first St. Stephen’s Church in 1842 at Second and Cedar Streets. That first church was 40 feet by 40 feet. In 1856 the church was enlarged to hold the growing parish.

Construction began on this current building in 1925 with the cornerstone laid on April 26, 1925. The cornerstone laying was regarded by the Owensboro Inquirer as "one of the greatest events in the history of Catholic activity in Daviess County."

After the dedication of the new church, the old church at Second and Cedar streets was stripped, furniture was disposed of and it was sold.

About Us, Saint Stephen Cathedral. Accessed December 13th 2019.

Owensboro Inquirer (Owensboro) September 5th 1926. Sunday ed, St. Stephen's Dedication sec, 21-32.

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Daviess County Public Library

Daviess County Public Library