An astute reader noted the lack of a historic Catholic Church in my recent post about the downtown churches. Well, it turns out that there was one, after all. St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception (I never even knew that was its official name) originally built the church you see here on Princess Anne St., right next to the Methodist church, in 1858. It was a mission church for many years, with visiting ministers from the cathedral in Richmond coming up to say Mass on Sundays, finally getting its own priest in 1871. Like the other churches, it fell to other uses during the Civil War: a hospital, a storehouse, and at times even a stable for cavalry horses.
In 1970, St. Mary’s moved into their new home, the large modern facility on William Street near the college, where next year, they will celebrate their sesquicentennial (yes, I had to look that up...it’s 150 years). The historic downtown building was sold to the Church of the Nazarene in 1970, and then later turned into law offices and apartments.