Help To Save Our Holy Trinity Church In Duquesne

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I received the following email this week, and I am hoping that we can help to provide some information about Holy Trinity. The fact that they may consider demolishing the structure is very disturbing. Considering the condition of the building, it is understandable why its demise is a real possibility. If there is any way to save, preserve, and restore Holy Trinity, I pray that it happens.

holy-trinityHello,
My name is Paul Bench, I represent a historical architecture preservation society called Preservation Pittsburgh. It has recently come to our attention that the old Holy Trinity Church on First Ave, might be slated for demolition. In effort to better understand the situation and historical value we are turning to the community for any information regarding HT’s history, stories, traditions, etc. Any information you might provide could be helpful, especially if you happen to know the current owner or any current plans. If you know anyone who might be able to provide more information about this beautiful building I would appreciate their contact information. Thank you for your time, and any information you can provide.

Best,
Paul Bench

8029011804_00e9a6269b_zIf you have any information that might be helpful to Paul, please, leave a comment. YOu help will surely be appreciated!

This entry was posted in Church and School - Holy Trinity, Duquesne Buildings, Duquesne History, Miscellaneous. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Help To Save Our Holy Trinity Church In Duquesne

  1. Mark Horgas says:

    I contacted the city of Duquesne code enforcement officer a few years ago. The building is condemned and abandoned, the last known owner is somewhere in the eastern part of the state. I have been reaching out through various means to inform individuals of my desire to at least salvage the cornerstones and have them moved to the front circle area of Holy Trinity Church in West Mifflin. If that cannot be done, I would at least like to have a professional photographer photograph the cornerstones and make poster sized and wallet sized or any various size pictures available. I also was raised in Holy Trinity and graduated in 1968. My grandparents Elizabeth (Sabol) and John Horgas immigrated from the old Czechoslovakia and are part of the founding families of the church.

    • John Kulha says:

      I was visiting the Pittsburgh area in June. Long story made short, a friend and I went into the church and took photos and some videos to document the current state of decline. The roof on the left side adjacent to the former altar, looked like there had been some serious fire damage. We stayed away from that area! That may have contributed to the roof collapse last evening. I hope someone saves the cornerstone and perhaps any time capsule that was placed in it. I have some pics of the cornerstone. Sad to see it end this way.

      • Frank Mullen says:

        I am sincerely sorry to have to say this, but even if some benefactor(s) were found who could finance the entire cost of saving and restoring and protecting Holy Trinity Church, a certain hoodlum element would be coming in the back, to rip out any copper plumbing, mark graffiti, relieve themselves, or otherwise destructively abuse the edifice, before the last contractor was out the front.
        We would have to pay a security force to patrol and guard the church 24 – 7, 365 days per year. No community, like the treasury of people who once ministered to and worshiped at Holy Trinity, remains to take care of the place and use it for the exquisitely dignified purpose for which it was originally built and enjoyed.
        The demise and dissolution of the mill(s) made certain of that.
        The Holy Trinity Church we once knew and valued is gone. Its community of parishioners cannot be found again. Most everything that was Holy Trinity Church is gone. However, the shrine of it in our hearts is inviolate.
        With deepest respect and regret, Frank Mullen

  2. Audreyanne L Palyo says:

    I have photographs of my deterorating neighborhood over the years. I lived at the top of Camp Ave on South Second street. My last visit left me very sad as the once neat homes that lined Camp Ave and my neighbors homes were all gone. I was able to sit on the front stoop, watch smoke rise from the mill stacks and imagine the impact from the mill forge was the beat of the mill’s heart. I could occasionally hear the blast of the riverboat as it passed behind the mill or the toots from either The B&O or PG&E trains. I remember how quiet it was when the mill was on strike. WWII Air Raid practice when the lights from the mill were never totally out, just a bit less bright.

  3. Dennis Ragan says:

    I see these comments are from 2013. The church is still standing, but the likelihood that it can be saved has to be unlikely. Can’t even imagine the money it would take, given its current condition. Does anyone know who the current owner is? Our family — the Ragans — were long-time parishioners of Holy Trinity. My grandparents came to Duquesne and Holy Trinity in 1929 from Czechoslovakia, and my parents (Andy and Eileen) brought all nine of us up at Holy Trinity, most at the old church. Dennis Ragan

    • Lew Soltis says:

      Dennis:

      I continue watch our beautiful church sink into further decay. I’m going to attempt to send you the pictures of the interior and exterior of the church that I took in June 2015. The church is even worse condition than the pictures show.

      Lew Soltis
      412-736-0347

    • Soltis, Lewis says:

      I took these pictures in June 2015 of Holy Trinity Church and the rectory that is adjacent to the church.

      Lew Soltis
      Shaler Township, PA
      412-736-0347

    • Frank MUllen says:

      Even if a benefactor were to completely restore the edifice, a full-time guard would have to be hired in-perpetuity to protect the place from vandals who would immediately see it as a resource to be raped of everything of value, such as copper wiring and plumbing, etc. But more importantly, a renewed Holy Trinity Church would need a parish and a priest, and that would require a neighborhood, which is long, long gone, and likely never to be repeated.

  4. Pingback: A Monongahela Valley Church In Ruins – Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, Duquesne PA – Lost Monongahela

  5. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    How sad. I am also privileged to read what you have written. I appreciate your sentiments. I could never understand why that priest moved Holy Trinity Church to West Mifflin when there was such a beautiful structure in Duquesne. We used to play and sled ride in the field where the new Holy Trinity stands.
    Claudia, I don’t know when you would have taken piano lessons at H.N., but when I took lessons the nun’s name was Sister Joseph Catherine. She also taught seventh grade. After her, Sister Dolores taught music. Sister Agnes Eugene was the principal. That was in the late fifties and early sixties.

    Lew, your comments brought tears to my eyes. XO — Colleen P.S. I hope to see you at our WMN reunion in August!!

    • Lewis Soltis says:

      Colleen:

      Nice to hear from you! I have so many fond memories of Duquesne. My wife tells me I’m too sentimental — she’s probably right (usually is!). Speaking of memories, I remember hanging out at your house in the basement with Bruce B. A lot of people that I met at Edison Jr. High based their friendships on how popular people were–I always thought so much of you because you liked people unconditionally (especially the fat kid from Holy Trinity!). Also, I’ll try to post some of the pictures that I took of Holy Trinity Church. They’re not easy to look at but sadly, it may be some of the final glimpes we’ll get of that old, beautiful church.

  6. Frank Mullen says:

    Dear Ms. Repko Misage and Mr. Soltis, I feel privileged to have read what you wrote about Holy Trinity. As a member of Holy Name parish, as a child, I knew of Holy Trinity but never walked down First Ave. to see it. I am stunned and saddened by the color photo of it in its overgrown, derelict state. My mouth fell open when I saw the second photo showing the surrounding neighborhood of homes replaced by woods! My first thought, upon seeing that, was of the many precious lives spent in that neighborhood and in that church. To see all of it gone is a wonder – a sad one. More and more, as I am on the road toward being 70, I am learning that one cannot go home again (to the places and people and rich experiences of childhood.) And what has happened to Holy Trinity and its neighborhood symbolizes all of that loss to me.
    Frank Mullen

    • Claudia Repko Misage says:

      Thank you for your very kind words Frank. I walked past your Church– Holy Name– often on my way to and from Adlers to catch the bus home ,to Duquesne Place. I do remember going to not only your church but all the other close by churches on Good Friday. My mom and some aunts and cousins would walk from church to church BUT always end up at our own parish church, Holy Trinity, to be there from noon thru three o’clock and remain there for the services. I also remember going to Holy Name School for piano lessons. Do not remember the sisters name but must have taken lesson for at least six years there.
      Again thanks, and have a great Summer. Claudia

      • Frank Mullen says:

        Three names come to mind,as sisters who played the piano for us: Sister Mary Richard; Sister Marie Ursula (sp?) ; Sister Cecelia. Does that help?
        I loved your reference to Adler’s and that bus stop, urging many memories to the forefront. Do you recall the candy store right at the stop, too? Sometimes, it got the nickle for the busride, spent instead on candy; then, I’d walk home. Also, I recall missing the bus at Adler’s, at times, and having to run like-heck down to the bottom of the hill, near the entrance to the Duquesne Works, to catch it, or I’d run all the way down the street where the Plaza moviehouse was to the last bus spot located at the foot of the hillside roadway (I think that entire area was excavated and covered over, right?) which lead to the bridge over the RR yard, marking the beginning of Duquesne Place. Sometimes, I just gave up and walked up that hill and the rest of the way home to MIller Ave.

  7. Claudia Repko Misage says:

    Where does one begin ???? That is my Church, our church, the church my mother’s family went to starting at the beginning. My mom was number 12 out of 14 children and most of them were married in Holy Trinity. Yes and most of them had there funeral Mass there as well. The Vesonder Family lived within walking distance of the Church, on Patterson Avenue. Mom attended school which was right next door to the church way back when and was taught by the Texas nuns before our Vincentian nuns. My brother, Fr. Cyril Repko, O.F.M.Cap. had his first Mass said there on a bright beautiful Sunday morning the seventeenth of June, 1962. The Church was completely filled and in the evening that same day he had Benediction at 5:30 in the evening followed by his First Priestly Blessing held in the Church Hall under the Church. Needless to say I do believe the entire church attended that.
    All of us cousins, aunts, uncles were Baptized there. I was born when Fr. John Kerchnyak was there. He was something else, a little mean, or should I say strict, but he was there always taking care of his flock. He was there from 1914 to 1955, Then came Fr. Michael Faidel, and then Dravecky and then Fr. Margo in 1963. As a matter of fact I had my brother marry us as well as Fr. Margo and another Capuchin. Fr. Margo saw the moving to our new Church in West Mifflin to were our parish cemetery was located. That was so very hard on so many people.
    Our Holy Trinity Church was so beautiful. When decorated for the holidays and just for Sunday Masses. The Holy Trinity behind the altar was breathtaking. Our Blessed Mother and St Joseph altars were so meaningful. The Communion rail where you came to receive Christ. Walking thru the opening to be married going almost right up to the altar. So many, many happy memories, oh yes walking from the school to church in line two by two. It was only about one block away but you did it ——-no talking—–and your Sister was walking right along side of you watching you. Ah ! those were the good old days, I know you can’t go back but is sure nice to think about all the good times you had growing up. I still say “give me my old time religion “. I still like being quiet in Church and not talking. Church was always a peaceful place, after all that is where Jesus lived.
    Thanks for listening to me and as you can tell I could go on and on BUT then so does life —it is always changing—and us along with it. We are not always happy with the changes but we make the most of it. God Bless Y’all !!! Claudia Repko Misage

  8. Lewis Soltis says:

    The Soltis family of Duquesne were life-long members of the Holy Trinity Church. My father, William, was baptized there in 1917 (I have his baptismal certificate). My mother and father were married there in 1937, my three brothers and I were baptized and confirmed there. In 1963 a funeral mass for my grandfather, William “Big Bill” Soltis, former Chief of Police in Duquesne in the 1940’s and 50’s, was celebrated with a full police honor guard at Holy Trinity. Additionally, my father, brothers and I all attended Holy Trinity School on Third Street. From 1960 through 1964 I was an altar boy at Holy Trinity. I clearly remember Masses being said in Latin and Slovak with Father Fidel and Father Dravecky as the celebrants.
    This past Christmas, I spent a cold, winter afternoon taking photos of the exterior and interior (there’s a broken glass-block window at the front of the church in the shape of a Cross where I gained shaky access with my camera) and couldn’t believe the deplorable shape of this grand building.
    I’d gladly share those pictures with you. Please call me at 412-736-0347 for any assistance I may be able to provide.
    Lew Soltis
    Shaler Township

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