History of

St. Charles Catholic Church

In the late 1800's Catholicism was well established in western Kentucky but only a few Catholics resided in Livermore and the surrounding area.
There was no church so Masses were said at various locations by visiting priests who traveled by train to reach Livermore. Services were held at the Field House (which was a hotel) located at First and Main streets owned by Daisy Field and Julia Field Mattingly. Mass was also said at the Union Church on the city square; this church was used by many denominations for their services. After 1902, Mass was celebrated at the home of Nellie Corrigan Quigg. In 1907 her daughter, Lillian Quigg Coin, received her First Holy Communion from Father Joseph Volk. He was a pioneer missionary who labored in Kentucky and was intrumental in establishing the Ursuline Sisters of Maple Mount, Kentucky.

In 1905, Karl Joseph Meyer arrived from Troy, Indiana to start a chair manufacturing business in Livermore. He was also interested in establishing a permanent Catholic parish. With permission from the Bishop of Louisville, Mr. Meyer was allowed to set aside a room in his home for the celebration of the Mass. This arrangement continued until larger quarters were needed. In 1915 a frame church at Fifth and Hill Streets owned by the Presbyterian Church was purchased and remodeled for Catholic services. It was named in honor of St. Charles Borromeo, an archbishop of Milan.

Perhaps the feeling of the time is best reflected in the following newspaper article that appeared on July 19, 1917 in the Louisville Catholic newspaper:

DEDICATION OF ST. CHARLES CHURCH AT LIVERMORE, Kentucky
"This is the day the Lord hath made." Surely St. Aloysius Feast, June 21 this year, was a day of days for Livermore when Rev. Aloysius G. Meyering, the untiring man of God, dedicated St. Charles Church. The Church is very handsome. It is the type that inpires the greatest devotion and prayer; it is so restful and peaceful. In it "heaven seems near and earth so far" and life and it's cares are forgotten. There are eleven Catholics in Livermore and all ready to respond to their pastor's slightest wish but to organize a congregation and build a church seemed to be a task too great for them.

While weighing the obstacles the Presbyterians of Livermore decided to sell their church, a new and splendidly put up house. The Catholics here thought of purchasing it, but as it was to sold for cash they feared that idea would have to be abandoned. At that juncture one of their members, a most prominent business man of the city, Mr. Karl J Meyer came to their rescue by purchasing the building and presenting it to Rev. Father Meyering  as a gift to the church. Some alterations had to be made. With minor changes here and there it was converted into a very fitting House of God.

The pastor was appointed by the Rt. Rev. Denis O'Donoghue D. D. Bishop of Louisville to perform the dedication ceremonies. The celebrant of the Mass was Rev. A. G. Meyering; Deacon Rev. L. Herberth, Sub-deacon, Rev. J. J. Finnegan, Master of Ceremonies, E. S. Fitzgerald. The Rev. J. Odendahl presided at the organ assisted by the choir of St. Joseph Church, Central City, Kentucky. Rev. E. S. Fitzgerald delivered the address. His fame as a speaker, being country-wide, needs no comment. His trubite to the paster was beautiful indeed, showing us how very priviliged we are in having such a zealous and devout priest for our shepherd. In the course of the sermon the speaker referrd to the work of Father Meyering at Brown's Valley, Central City and Livermore as "triune crown of a Triune God." The one most earnest prayer of this triune crown is that when fifty years of priesthood shall have linked themsleves into a golden chain Father Meyering will still be with us to listen to the golden bells of this three-fold crown.


 

Although the newspaper made the new church sound quite splendid, in truth it was rather primitive. It was heated by a temperamental, coal burning, pot bellied stove that often smoked. In order to have the church reasonably comfortable for services a parishioner arrived several hours early to start the fire. The men tended the grounds and did the repair work. The women cleaned the church and altar linens.

The parish was now established. Since there was no resident pastor, Mass was said only on alternate Sundays. If the parishioners wished to attend more often, then they had to travel by train and later by car to Brown's Valley, Central City or Owensboro. At the time of the dedication in 1917, St. Charles was a mission of Brown's Valley. Later in 1935, it became a mission of Central City. In 1971 it became a mission of St. Sebastian in Calhoun.

In 1916, the Livermore Academy was a school across the street from the church (where the present parish hall stands) became available. It was purchased by Karl J. Meyer and given to the church. The St. Charles Parochial School opened early in 1919 under the auspices of the Ursuline Sisters. The school closed in 1925 due to falling enrollment and two years later the building burned. The children of St. Charles attended St. Joseph Parochial School in Central City from 1946 until 1972.

In 1917, the St. Charles Cemetery was established. It is located adjacent to Oak Hill Cemetery on the south side at the intersection of Highway 431 and Highway 136. The land was purchased by Karl J. Meyer, Louis E. Charlet and Nellie Carrigan Quigg. In 2013 a fund raiser initiated by John and Dr. Marsha Logsdon provided the money to blacktop the cemetery road. In 2015 two signs were erected identifying the cemetery.

In 1941 the parishioners of St. Charles and their young paster Father Victor Boarmen were planning a new church. Although preparations were made at that time, they could not carry out [the plans] due to building restrictions necessitated by World War II. In 1945 construction resumed. The beautiful new St. Charles Borromeo Church was dedicated on October 20, 1947.