St. Joseph Catholic Church (San Antonio, Texas)

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St. Joseph Catholic Church
St Joseph Catholic Church in San Antonio Texas.jpg
Aerial view of St. Joseph Catholic Church, surrounded by the Shops at Rivercenter
St. Joseph Catholic Church is located in Texas
St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church is located in the United States
St. Joseph Catholic Church
St. Joseph Catholic Church
29°25′25″N 98°29′11″W / 29.4236°N 98.4864°W / 29.4236; -98.4864Coordinates: 29°25′25″N 98°29′11″W / 29.4236°N 98.4864°W / 29.4236; -98.4864
Location623 E. Commerce St.,
San Antonio, Texas
CountryUnited States
DenominationRoman Catholic
WebsiteSt. Joseph Catholic Church
StatusParish church
DedicationSaint Joseph
Functional statusActive
Architect(s)G. Friesleben, Theodore Giraud
StyleGothic Revival
Groundbreaking1868 (1868)
Completed1876 (1876)
Number of spiresone
ArchdioceseSan Antonio
Priest(s)Anthony Schueller, SSS; Joseph Thai Tran, SSS
Deacon(s)Vincent Scheel
St. Joseph's Church and Rectory
Part ofAlamo Plaza Historic District (#77001425[1])
RTHL #5049
Significant dates
Designated CPJuly 13, 1977
Designated RTHL1962

The St. Joseph Catholic Church is a Roman Catholic parish church in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio, located at 623 East Commerce Street in downtown San Antonio, Texas, United States.[2] The Gothic Revival[3] house of worship was the fourth Catholic parish in the city.[4]

The church is an example of what the Chinese describe as a nail house; when the church refused to sell to a property developer a large shopping mall was constructed around it.[5]

Parish history[edit]

Interior of St. Joseph Catholic Church
Cornerstone of St. Joseph Catholic Church, inscribed with the words Siehe die Wohnung Gottes bei den Menschen (German: Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people) Revelation 21:3

The church occupies the probable second site of the Missión San Antonio de Valero (later known as the Alamo), before it was moved in 1724 to its present location.[6][7] The cornerstone of the church was laid in 1868, and it was finally completed in 1871.[8] It served a large and growing community of German immigrants.[9] In the 1870s, Friar Henry Pfefferkorn, founder of the Liederkranz (male singing choir), painted the Annunciation and Assumption murals on the side altars.[7][10] A steeple was added in 1898.[11] Stained glass windows, imported from the Emil Frei Art Glass Factory in Munich, Germany, were installed in 1902.[12]

In 1944, Joske's department store (whose site would eventually become part of the Shops at Rivercenter complex) offered to buy the church grounds in order to develop it commercially. Parishioners unanimously refused the offer to move from the site and so instead Joske's built around the three sides of the church, earning the church from locals the moniker "St. Joske's".[3] A restoration was commenced in 1981.[13] Today, the parish serves as home to a multicultural community and as a popular attraction for tourists.[13] Spanish-language masses are held with mariachi music[4] and the San Antonio Liederkranz sings once a month.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ 2013
  3. ^ a b 2013
  4. ^ a b Levy 2010
  5. ^ Opelka, Mike (December 1, 2012). "China's 'House In The Middle Of The Highway' Has Been Demolished". TheBlaze. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved June 29, 2014.CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
  6. ^ Untiedt 2008, p. 16
  7. ^ a b Texas Monthly 1980, p. 117
  8. ^ Williams 2000, p. 28
  9. ^ Lair & Nawrocki 2008, p. 72
  10. ^ a b The San Antonio Liederkranz Inc 2013
  11. ^ St. Joseph Catholic Church 2013
  12. ^ 2013
  13. ^ a b Gerem 2001, p. 247

External links[edit]