On May 1, 1847, a group of German Protestants living in Covington’s
west end met in order to organize a new congregation. This group of
thirty families immediately decided to purchase a lot at the northeast
corner of Banklick and 11th Streets and to build a small frame structure.
The first services were conducted on August 29, 1847 and the building
was solemnly dedicated on November 1 of the same year.
St. Paul Evangelical Church grew quickly. In 1860, work began on the
construction of a new brick church on the original lot. In 1867, the
second story of this building was completed. The second level was used
as an auditorium and the first level was used for classroom and office
space. The new church was dedicated on April 28, 1868.
In 1872, the congregation celebrated its 25th anniversary. To celebrate
the occasion, a new altar, pulpit and chandeliers were purchased. Also,
stained-glass windows were installed in the auditorium. A bell tower
and bell were added to the church in 1875. The bell was named Abraham
Lincoln in memory of the country’s fallen president. Also at this
time, a $1,075 clock was purchased and installed in the tower.
Saint Paul Evangelical was a Protestant congregation, it often was at
times out of step with the other mainline denominations of the city.
For instance, in 1909, the congregation was one of only two Protestant
churches in Kenton County that did not participate in the anti-saloon
drive. The pastor of St. Paul, C.E. Gilbert Schmidt, wrote to the drive
organizers, “Your action is the source of the worst hypocrisy
the world has ever seen, making the church a greater evil than the saloon.”
German culture, like social beer consumption, set members of St. Paul
congregation apart from other Protestant groups.
Until 1912, all services at St. Paul Evangelical were conducted in the
German language. At this time, however, the congregation voted to hold
English and German services on alternate Sundays. The use of the German
language came to a complete halt during the First World War. Anti-German
hysteria spread throughout Northern Kentucky and the members of the
congregation decided that it was more important to show their patriotism
than to maintain services in German.
The pipe organ was moved from the gallery to a position behind the altar
in 1919. Other improvements included an addition to the building which
housed Sunday school rooms, a pastor’s study and infant room and
bathroom facilities. Members celebrated the 75th anniversary of the
founding of the congregation in 1922. At this time, membership stood
The 1920s and 1930s witnessed several improvements to the church facilities.
In 1923 a new parsonage was purchased at 1521 Holman Street. In 1932,
the old tower and steeple of the church were removed. A new brick tower
and cooper steeple were built in its place. The steeple was crowned
by a copper hand with its finger pointing to heaven.
In 1957, St. Paul became affiliated with the United Church of Christ.
At this time, the name of the congregation was changed to St. Paul United
Church of Christ. Urban flight during this era greatly impacted the
congregation. As the population of Covington declined, so did membership
at St. Paul. The neighborhood around the church was becoming a less
desirable residential area. In addition, the age of the church building
was resulting in high maintenance costs.
1957, the congregation voted to establish a building fund. Within a
few years, enough money had been collected to purchased a 7.2-acre plot
of ground on Ft. Henry Drive in the suburban community of Lookout Heights
(Ft. Wright). The congregation hired architect William F. Brown of Newport
to design the new structure in 1966. Ground was broken on May 21, 1967
and the new church was dedicated on February 9, 1969.
The completion of the new church in Fort Wright, resulted in the sale
of the old building at Banklick and 11th Streets in Covington in 1971
to the All Nation Temple. The new congregation intended to restore the
building for use as a church, but funds were not available. The building
was used as a storage facility by the church for the next two decades.
On Saturday September 22, 1990, the old St. Paul Church was destroyed
by a suspicious fire. The flames consumed the tower and steeple and
caused an entire wall to collapse on a neighboring building. The remainder
of the building was quickly demolished.
Kentucky Post, February 8, 1909,p. 2, November 24, 1914, p. 1,
May 2, 1922, p. 1, March 19, 1932, p. 3, May 20, 1932, p. 1 and September
24, 1990, p. 3k; Kentucky Post & Times-Star, January 5, 1963, p.
4k; Ticket, December 9, 1875, p. 3; St. Paul Evangelical Church, 75th