Saint Adalbert’s Catholic Church, 265 Charles Avenue, was built in 1911 to serve Polish Catholics. Today its three-tiered twin front towers greet many Vietnamese worshippers.
The original church was the old frame Church of St. Louis, moved to Frogtown from downtown in 1879. A group of Polish Catholics bought the building, built a limestone foundation and moved the church to Charles and Galtier. It was rededicated in November 1881 in a ceremony in both Polish and English. The first resident pastor was Father Horbaczewski.
Both the parish church and original wood school were enlarged in 1885, and a convent was built.
The cornerstone of the church we know today was laid in May 1910. Although the structure wasn’t completed the funeral of Monsignor Dominic Majer was held there in March 1911, Majer was the first Polish priest to be made a prelate in the United States. He was active in efforts to promote the Polish Catholic church and steer a course between competing factions in America’s Polish Catholic churches.
The church was completed and dedicated in October 1911. It was designed by the firm of Boyer Taylor and Tewes. Its towers rise in three stages and are topped with gold crosses. The three front doors were topped with window openings, which have been filled in.
The old wooden church, which had been converted into a parish hall, was destroyed by fire in 1915. The current convent and rectory buildings at Saint Adalbert date from 1951. Services in Polish were offered for many years and Polish foods and customs were prominent features at parish events.