Pittsburgh in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
St. Nicholas Church and Mala Jaska
Croatian immigrants began settling in Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh's North Side) in the late nineteenth century, after their government deprived its citizens of political power, agricultural markets, and land ownership. Many of the immigrants were farmers from the Jaska region, where the economy was particularly hard hit by the ruination of its vineyards. Nearly all the worker immigrants were unskilled men, and one third were illiterate. The displaced Croats hoped to earn enough money in America that they might one day return to their homeland. In the spirit of non-permanence, most of the Croatian immigrants rented their living quarters, sometimes living in boarding houses with as many as dozen other working men.
In 1894, the increasing number of Croatian immigrants in Allegheny City formed St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Parish, which was the first Croatian national parish in the United States. Named for the patron saint of Jaska, the parish held church services in a house
It was not long before the parish outgrew its small building, necessitating the construction of a larger edifice. Divided over where the new church ought to be constructed, the parish split and built two churches in 1900-1901 - one in Allegheny City and the other in Millvale.
The Allegheny City (North Side) congregation also built a rectory immediately west of the church in (1900-1901). In 1931, the parish purchased the local public school (located immediately east of the church and pictured right) and converted it to an eight-grade parochial school.
A convent was built in 1950 to house the sisters who taught at the school. An elaborate hillside grotto, dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes, was developed in 1944 between the church and the rectory.
In 1994, the Diocese of Pittsburgh merged the St. Nicholas, North Side and St. Nicholas, Millvale parishes. The East Ohio Street building remained in use until 2004 and was razed in 2013.
Erected by Friends of the Riverfront, PennDOT, Federal Highway Administration, City of Pittsburgh.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Churches & Religion.
Location. 40° 27.418′ N, 79° 59.179′ W. Marker is in PittsburghTouch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Pittsburgh PA 15212, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Nicholas Roman Catholic Croatian Church, North Side (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto (about 500 feet away); St. Nicholas Church (about 500 feet away); Mala Jaska (about 500 feet away); The Menace of the Iron Horse (approx. ¼ mile away); Herr's Island (approx. ¼ mile away); The Lagering Caves (approx. ¼ mile away); E & O Brewery (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pittsburgh.
Also see . . .
1. St. Nicholas Church on the North Side. (Submitted on November 14, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
2. Why St. Nicholas Church had to go. January 13, 2013 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Submitted on November 14, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 15, 2016. It was originally submitted on November 14, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 223 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 14, 2016, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.