Veronica Parish History
steps of organizing the new parish in Hamilton began on January
13, 1894, the feast of St. Veronica. Its need was recognized
by Cincinnati Archbishop Henry Moeller who placed the matter
in the charge of Father Francis Varelmann, the pastor of St.
Joseph Church. The advent of big industry in the section known
as East Hamilton was the direct cause of the need for this
new Catholic parish, which attracted people of German descent.
The Daily News of June 4, 1894, headlined the first celebration
of the new Catholic parish. “Immense throngs of people
witness an imposing ceremony. Cornerstone at the new St. Veronica
Church laid.” The article went on to describe that “the
Church will be a handsome structure and will cost $5,000 when
completed; $4,000 of which has already been collected in cash.”
Fifty families with some sixty children made up the initial
membership of St. Veronica. This number was expected to increase
to at least one hundred families as people moved into the
East Hamilton area. At the same time, it was arranged that
two Notre Dame Sisters would take charge of the school.
The Church was crowded on the morning of December 2, 1894.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated for the first
time in East Hamilton by Father Henry Proepperman. On May
2, 1895, Archbishop William Henry Elder dedicated the new
church building. The Catholic Telegraph chronicled the event.
“Large delegations were present from Cincinnati and
the dedication was witnessed by thousands. After the celebration,
Archbishop Elder spoke to the people, offering his sincere
congratulations. He included in his talk an emphatic condemnation
of intemperance and profane language. These two prevalent
vices of that time were pointed out in their true light and
the faithful were asked to strengthen themselves against these
occasions of sin.” Two years later St. Veronica received
its first resident pastor, Father George Geers. Under his
direction the house at the corner of Kahn and Hensley was
At the turn of the century, the parish began to increase in
number and size to the extent that the Church and school were
no longer adequate to handle the people. Its growth presented
the problem of enlarging the present building or of building
a whole new structure. The pastor, Father Henry Kues, gifted
in planning and managing, was able to enlarge both school
and church to care for the growing congregation. Two additional
school rooms were added, the church was moved to occupy the
entire second floor, the church steeple was heightened by
26 feet and three new bells were bought. Contracts were also
placed for twenty new art glass windows and several life-sized
statues were also purchased. This entire project cost $11,000.
In October, 1910, Father Oscar Gerhardus took up the duties
of pastor. Three years later the river poured out of its banks
in the great flood of 1913. Many people found refuge in St.
Veronica School. Though East Hamilton was not disturbed by
the flood waters, the members of St. Veronica’s did
everything in their power to lessen the hardships of others
by sheltering families and providing their meals. Continued
growth and local industrial expansion soon made it apparent
that St. Veronica Church was too small to accommodate the
large numbers of parishioners. Under the guidance of Father
Gerhardus, plans were undertaken to provide a larger church.
To preserve the parish from incurring an enormous debt, it
was agreed upon to build a basement Church which would accomplish
the purpose until enough money could be raised to complete
the upper structure. Work commenced in September, 1923, and
progressed very rapidly. Approximately two months from the
time the work began, the cornerstone was laid. It marked the
beginning of a program of expansion and building; but this
beginning was destined to go no further. A roof was built
to cover the basement Church and it has remained that way
until the present day. The basement Church was comfortable
and adequate for everyone to be seated during the Sunday masses.
1 - St. Julie Billiart Parish History
Page 2 - St. Stephen Parish History
Page 3 - St. Mary Parish History
Page 4 - St. Veronica Parish History