North Omaha has been home to several Catholic parishes. However, one church had to fight for its standing, challenge white flight and continue its push into the future throughout its existence. This is a history of St. John’s Catholic Church in North Omaha.
Dedicated in 1888, St. John’s was designed by a local architect named P. J. Creedon in the English Gothic Revival style. Originally, priests involved at Creighton worked at Holy Family Church, which was just a few blocks from the campus. However, the Creighton family’s commitment to their college led to the construction of St. John’s Collegiate Chapel.
Unfortunately though, the building was only half-completed and was dedicated wrong, too, named in honor of John the Evangelist instead of John the Baptist, who was John A. Creighton’s patron saint.
Regardless, St. John’s served as a center for worship for the most influential and wealthy Catholics in the city. In 1897, the church became a parish, and expanded greatly in 1920, 1922, and 1977. Standing next to Creighton Hall, the two buildings were interconnected by a raised, covered bridge around 1902.
Today, the building has been completed, and the parish is open to members from across the city, as well as students from around the world who attend the university.
St. John’s School
St. John’s School opened in 1897 when the chapel formally became a parish. Operated by the Sisters of Mercy, St. John’s School got a new building at 2507 California Street in 1901, with a major addition 10 years later in 1911. St. John’s High School started operating in the same building that year as a girls school. In 1955, the high school closed, and in 1968 the grade school was closed permanently. The building was demolished soon afterward.
After it was closed, the school was renamed Bergan Hall and became home to the university office of public relations and alumni, the university’s foundation, a counseling center and offices for the faculty of the department of education. It was demolished in 1975 to make room for the Kiewit Physical Fitness Center.
The Parish Today
The church is in good condition today. It is included in a proposed Creighton University Historic District, but as of December 2019, it hasn’t been listed on the National Register of Historic Places or designated as an official Omaha Landmark by the City of Omaha Landmark Heritage Preservation Commission.
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MY ARTICLES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY
BUILDINGS: Creighton Observatory | Creighton Hall | Campion House | St. John’s Parish | Creighton High School
RELATED: Count Creighton House | Creighton Working Girls Home | Omaha DePorres Club | Beal’s Grill | Holy Family Parish
MY ARTICLES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF CATHOLICS IN NORTH OMAHA
Parishes: St. Benedict | Sacred Heart | St. John | Holy Family | Holy Angels
People: Cathy Hughes | David Rice
Other: St. Vincent’s Home for the Aged | St. Clare’s Monastery | Creighton University | Creighton Working Girls Home
MY ARTICLES ABOUT HISTORIC CHURCHES IN NORTH OMAHA
GENERAL: Directory | Black Churches | Florence Churches
METHODIST: 17th Street | Pearl Memorial UMC | St. John’s AME | Bethel AME | Cleaves Temple | Ames Avenue | Trinity | Walnut Hill | 18th Street |
BAPTIST: Mount Moriah | Zion | Immanuel |
CATHOLIC: Holy Family | St. Benedict the Moor | St. John’s | Holy Angels | Sacred Heart | St. Cecilia
PRESBYTERIAN: Calvin Memorial | Hillside | First United | Covenant | St. Paul
EPISCOPALIAN: St. Phillips |
COGIC: New Bethel | Faith
LUTHERAN: Hope | St. Paul
OTHERS: Mt. Calvary |
RELATED: St. Clare’s Monastery | Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary | North Omaha Catholic Schools | Black Churches | Florence Churches
MY ARTICLES ABOUT THE HISTORY OF SCHOOLS IN NORTH OMAHA
GENERAL: Segregated Schools | Higher Education
PUBLIC GRADE SCHOOLS: Belvedere | Cass | Central Park | Dodge Street | Druid Hill | Florence | Fort Omaha School | Howard Kennedy | Kellom | Lake | Long | Miller Park | Minne Lusa | Monmouth Park | North Omaha (Izard) | Omaha View | Pershing | Ponca | Saratoga | Sherman | Walnut Hill | Webster
PUBLIC MIDDLE SCHOOLS: McMillan | Technical
PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS: North | Technical | Florence
CATHOLIC SCHOOLS: Creighton | Dominican | Holy Angels | Holy Family | Sacred Heart | St. Benedict | St. John
LUTHERAN SCHOOLS: Hope | St. Paul
HIGHER EDUCATION: Omaha University | Creighton University | Presbyterian Theological Seminary
MORE: Fort Street Special School for Incorrigible Boys | Nebraska School for the Deaf and Dumb
Listen to the North Omaha History Podcast on “The History of Schools in North Omaha” »
- “History of St. John’s” from St. John’s official website
- “Timeline” from St. John’s official website
- “St. John’s Parish” on Wikipedia
What a handsome building. They knew how to design back then, in looks, materials, and environmentally. I hope it still has the original windows.
My grandparents ( both sides) my.folks were married there. My mom & dad went to school there . It was the family church until the interstate took all the homes around the church.
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I was one of the 8 to graduate from St. JOHNS IN 1968….
My brother and I graduated from St. John grade school in in 1951. There were 40 in our class, a nice even 20 boy and 20 girls. I have good memories of my years there.
I was there,remember you from the boy scouts and cub scouts. You lived on 24th,up the street from Joseph’s hardware store.
My mother, Virginia Hogan, went to school here, and was the winner of the 1929 National Spelling Bee, representing St John’s . There was no school the day she returned from Washington to arousing welcome at the railroad station.
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A few years ago I read the news paper article about your mother’s spelling bee win.That was huge for Omaha and St John’s.Loved going to school there with all the activity going on from the grade school, two high schools and the University.