History of St. Mary Parish Community
The history of our parish at St. Mary dovetails with the history of our Hyde Park community. In the early 1890’s local developers formed the Morningside Syndicate to subdivide the property around the current Hyde Park Square for residential development. The advantages of this “rural” development were not lost on the inner city residents of Cincinnati and the area began to grow immediately.
Holy Angels parish had been established over on Grandin Road for some years. Recognizing the burgeoning development of Hyde Park area, the Holy Angels’ pastor, Father O’Rourke sent a letter to Archbishop Elder requesting permission to establish a new parish community in Hyde Park.
On May 29, 1898, the first mass of the new St. Mary’s parish was held in an old feed store over on Griffith Avenue, owned and donated by local businessman, Tilden French.
The parish continued to grow and in 1901, Nicholas Walsh donated three lots on the corner of Erie Avenue and Shady Lane to the new parish and the first church was built in what is now the current parking lot behind the Church..
Soon the school was established and utilized the church building (the home the grade school would continue to occupy until 1964). The year 1905 marked the beginning of the growth of our parish into what it has become today. During that year, Father P.J. Hynes (soon to be Monsignor Hynes) became pastor at St. Mary. Under his leadership the parish built the undercroft, the current church (1917), the pastoral residence, the old grotto and the current school building (1923). Monsignor Hynes was a noted speaker and conversationalist and was a welcomed guest at many area residents’ homes, including the area residents who were not St. Mary parishioners. As a result, he was an excellent fundraiser. Through all this growth and development the parish was never deep in debt. Monsignor Hynes established St. Mary as the first parochial high school in our area with a recognized college preparatory curriculum. St. Mary remained a coed high school until 1929 when the boys were transferred to the new Purcell High School and was used as a girls’ high school until 1963 when Marian High School was established.
St. Mary was firmly established as one of the leading parishes in the archdiocese. In 1940, when Monsignor Hynes passed away, acknowledgement of his accomplishments and leadership were recognized when he was succeeded as pastor by then Bishop Rehring.
As St. Mary has grown over the years we have established our roots firmly in the community. Our grade school has now been recognized nationally with blue ribbon awards on three different occasions. We have gone through many changes over the years as a parish family and continue to be community involved with our parish and school programs and remain one of the finest parishes in the archdiocese.