History of St. George Church, Linn

In the summer of 1886, a meeting was held in the Courthouse in Linn to discuss the building of a church. Most of the citizens of Linn and a few from the vicinity attended. They voted for the building of a Catholic Church and pledged to support the undertaking.

The building was a structure of plain red brick with three windows of simple window glass. There were no decorations of any kind in the Church. The patron of the new Church, St. George, was probably named after George Fechter and George Hopkins who donated the site. The cornerstone laying took place on May 20, 1867. The close of the ceremonies consisted of three sermons suited to the occasion—one preached in English, one in French and one in “fluent, ringing German.” During the winter of 1867-68 a plain unadorned altar, a Communion rail and about two dozen seats were added to the Church.

Plans for a convent and school started in the spring of 1882. St. George’s Mission of the School Sisters of Notre Dame was opened September 10, 1883, by four sisters. It began with 48 children, some of whom boarded at the convent. The curriculum included several high school subjects.

St. George remained a mission Church until Rev. Joseph Schroeder was appointed the first diocesan priest Pastor in 1885-86. By 1888 the old Church was too small for the growing population. The parish was growing because of a resident Pastor and a school. In the summer of 1891, plans were underway to replace the Church. The cornerstone was laid in October, 1894. When the finished Church was blessed in 1896, sermons were given in German and English. The new Church was first decorated in 1897; it took over four months to paint the interior of the building.

A rectory was built next to the Church in the fall of 1898. It was noted at the time that there were over 100 children in school. It was getting crowded; some students still boarded at times such as reception of Sacraments like First Communion or Confirmation. Plans were made for a new school and the cornerstone was laid June 29, 1909. It consisted of four classrooms, basement and hall with a stage. The hall was the setting for productions by the St. George Dramatic Club and later a silent movie machine provided entertainment. Classes occupied the school building in January, 1911.

The Church was repaired and redecorated during the summer of 1934. This was the last time the building was redecorated until it was torn down in 1974 to make room for the present structure. The new St. George Church was dedicated May 2, 1976.

By 1954 the school had outgrown the existing building and a new school was needed. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new school were held August 22, 1954. Classes in the new school started September, 1955. The old convent which served the parish for 79 years was torn down and Sisters moved into a new building in November, 1962. The school was growing in 1964 so some classes were again scheduled in the old school.

Following renovation of the old school building, the upper floor providing classrooms for grades six, seven and eight was named St. George Junior High School. The lower floor is called Notre Dame Hall after the School Sisters of Notre Dame and is used for parish activities. Kindergarten was started at St. George School in the 1992-93 school year. An Activities Center was added in 1995 to provide additional classroom space and gymnasium facilities for student use.

Information from “Centennial History of St. George Parish”