Saint Peter’s Church

St Peters

The site of the traditional Red Mass, started by Alabama Chief Justice Howell Helfin in 1973, and held every year to mark the beginning of the new judicial year. In 1834 a wood frame church was built here at the corner of Adams and Lawrence, and there was conducted the first Catholic Mass said in Montgomery. Twenty years later the frame church was replaced with a brick Romanesque Revival style building, traditional for churches of that era in this area. But during the dark period following the Civil War, the Catholic Bishops sought financial support from the powerful Catholic entities south of the border. Along with help came a dictum that the Montgomery church should resemble Spanish Colonial, a style more indicative of Texas or Southern California than of Alabama.

Ergo, by 1882 a new front had been added featuring asymmetrical towers, and the exterior redone with painted stucco walls and a red tile roof. So, while the interior of the church is the oldest surviving Romanesque work in Alabama, you see no hint of that on the exterior.

-Charles Humphries

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