Sacred Heart Church
Sacred Heart Church is located on the corner of 1st Avenue and Hamlet Street in the area of Columbus now called Italian Village. The block where Sacred Heart Church is located, bounded by Summit and Hamlet streets and First and Second avenues, has been Catholic Church property since 1852 or 1853, when William Phelan of Lancaster (OH) willed it to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (The diocese of Columbus was later formed from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1868.)
Sacred Heart was established in 1875. A school was built which had a large hall where church services were held until the current church was dedicated in 1923. Father John Eis was the first pastor of Sacred Heart. He served the church for 44 years. He was replaced by Father (later Msgr.) James Ryan. He served the church from 1919 until his death in 1944. In 1945 Auxiliary Bishop Edward Hettinger was appointed pastor of Sacred Heart. He served for 32 years. Bishop Hettinger is who I remember.
The original school building served as both an elementary and high school. From 1908 on the high school was a commercial school for girls only. The old school was torn down and replaced by a new building in 1957. The girls high school was closed in 1966, and the elementary school was closed in 1972. Today the building is leased to the St. Joseph Montesorri School.
I attended Sacred Heart elementary school 1st and 2nd grades. It was right after I transferred to Holy Name School that the old school building was torn down. I remember going with my Dad to the laying of the new building's cornerstone. Even when I went there I could sense that the building was old. One year a boiler exploded in the lower level. Luckily it was overnight so no one was hurt. But that meant we had to eat our lunches in our classrooms as the cafeteria was in the lower level. Always felt like sitting in a dungeon when eating our lunch! The first and second grades (and probably 3rd and 4th) were on the first floor. I remember walking up the large stairwell to the second floor a few times, once for a hearing test. I'm not sure how the upper level was arranged, and there might even have been a third floor? The hearing test that I remember was in a large hall, so that was probably where the church services were held until the church was built.
I remember the interior of the church as dark and grey. From today's pictures it looks as if there has been some color added to the interior. I also do not remember the wood ceiling. I remember chandeliers hanging from the ceiling also, which are no longer there.
Reading current comments about the church validates my feeling that this church is special. It gives one the feeling of what a church should look and feel like. It has a spirituality that other churches do not. Today about half of the 150-200 people who attend weekly services are from areas outside the parish area.
When I attended Sacred Heart the church was always packed. It was built to seat about 800 people. It was at one time one of the largest parishes in Columbus, but due to the migration of the population to the suburbs, which started after World War II, it now has about 200 registered families.
I was baptized, had my first Confession, and received First Holy Communion at Sacred Heart Church.