St.Peter the Apostle Church

St. Peter the Apostle Church, known as the “Mother of the West” was the Mother Church of all churches in West Baltimore. The cornerstone was laid on 23 May, 1843 at Poppleton and Hollins Streets.

Designed by the famous Baltimore born architect, Robert Cary Long*, Jr., the church was patterned after the famous temple Theseus in Athens and is constructed in the classical Grecian style, the outside Doric, and the inside Corinthian. Mr. Long was also the architect of the Franklin Street Presbyterian Church, St. Alphonse, the Lloyd Street Synagogue, the wrought iron fences surrounding the Washington Monument and the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Baltimore’s Fifth Archbishop, Samuel Eccleston, created St. Peter’s Parish in 1842 and commissioned Edward McColgan, a young Irish priest, to lead the thousands of Irish immigrants. Money was raised quickly for the new church, and the Irishmen of the neighborhood gladly furnished free labor. So great was the response that many were refused. Construction went forward smoothly, leading to its dedication on 22 September, 1844, before a grand ceremony attended by a Who’s Who in Catholic leadership. Interestingly, St. Peter’s was designed and intended to include “colored persons”.

In a note of historical interest, Babe Ruth, America’s most famous baseball player, grew up nearby on Emory Street, was baptized at St. Peter's, and later attended Saint Mary’s Industrial School, planned and designed by Father McColgan in 1860 as a school for incorrigible boys.


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920 Lemmon Street, Baltimore MD 21223     email: info@irishshrine.org