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History of Freeland, Pa.
St. Ann's second church, 1920s

St. Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924 This interesting little booklet comes to us from longtime Freeland librarian Colleen Tatar, who had it from her father. The Catholic Reference Book and Parish Register was published circa 1924, and contains many local business ads and a brief biography of parish founder Rev. Michael J. Fallihee, in addition to the Catholic reference material that forms the core of the text. However, the most interesting thing about this for local history is the image on the cover and the ad on the inside back cover. Charlie Gallagher tells the story:

"I was told that was the church that was never built.
On page 12 you see that Durnin Construction was to have been the General Contractor for the Church.
They got the basement completed and that was it until the new church was built October 15, 1967.
(but the basement church had its charm and was unique).

Apparently upon completion of the school, convent and rectory, the church construction was started.
Iíve been told that concerns over the amount of debt the parish undertook resulted in a suspension of the additional construction.
Father Leo Gilroy, who brought the parish out of debt, was pastor of St. Annís from 1946 until he died on February 17, 1965.
He was succeeded by Father Gilleogly, who raised the money for a new church in 24 months and built it in 18 months."

He added: "It couldnít have been a worse time to start a full parish construction project. Just before the 1929 stock market crash and the continuing depression into the mid thirties. Then right after all that, WWII. I imagine donations dried up during those years."

Shown below at left is the first St. Ann's Church, founded in 1874 in Woodside as a mission of the Immaculate Conception Church in Eckley. The center photo shows the second St. Ann's church, built in the 800 block of Centre Street and serving the parish for about 40 years, from the 1920s to the mid-1960s (photo from Ed Merrick). At right is the model for the planned but unrealized completion of the 'basement church.'

St. Ann's in Woodside St. Ann's 'basement church' The planned St. Ann's church circa 1924

Here is the complete booklet that shows what the church would have looked like if it had been completed in the 1920s.

St. Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924

Clicking this link will open an Adobe PDF file of this booklet. If you don't have Adobe Reader on your computer you can download it for free at

PDF logo St Ann's Catholic Reference Booklet, circa 1924 - (PDF file size = 4.1 MB)

Thank you to Colleen for the booklet, to Charlie for the story, and to Ed for the photo of the basement church.

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