Historic Pittsburgh church demolished after more than a century

PITTSBURGH — St. Wendelin church has been a pillar in the community for more than a century. It’s the first parish in the South Hills area but it’s being demolished. Longtime parishioners said they are sad to say goodbye.

PHOTOS: Pittsburgh church built in 1896 demolished

“It’s very emotional. I’m going to start crying at this point. I can’t believe it came down,” said longtime parishioner, Joanne Kosar.

A historic church on the border of Carrick and Baldwin, St. Wendelin church along Custer Avenue has been around since 1896.

“This church is so old, 128 years old. St. Wendelin church was the mother parish of what makes us our entire current parish now,” said Father Stephen Kresak, the Pastor of Blessed Trinity Parish.

St. Wendelin is part of Pittsburgh’s Blessed Trinity Parish. It was last used in 2020.

Since then, parishioners have been going to the other four churches in the parish, which are all within three miles.

Channel 11 spoke with a parishioner who had her first communion here. She said she’s devastated.

“I feel brokenhearted over this church. I grew up behind the cemetery. My grandparents were buried here. My parents were married here. I was born in the 1950s. I was baptized here,” said Kosar. “So many memories. It’s so sad to see it go.”

Chris and Bob Kircher also got married at the church.

“We got married here 50 years ago. I went to St. Wendelin grade school,” said Chris Kircher. “It’s sad.”

Channel 11 told you last November the church officially closed because it was in poor condition and in need of repairs that the parish could not afford.

What’s next for this piece of land? The pastor said there has been a land agreement, but future plans are not finalized. The pastor says no matter what, the parish will move forward.

“I’m very blessed to be part of this parish because they get the fact this is just a church building, but the people are the church itself,” said Father Stephen Kresak.

The cemetery will remain untouched. The building next door, which used to be a school was sold in 2015. Outside of the church is a pile of bricks. The parish is allowing parishioners to take a brick as a keepsake. The front of the church will be demolished Friday morning around 8 a.m.

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