Our Parish's History
Our St. Peter Parish story began over 170 years ago with faith and hope on frontier farmland. It is a story that continues today, anchored by faith and guided by plans to embrace the opportunities and challenges of a new millennium.
Our parish had humble beginnings. In 1832 a group of pioneer families secured 80 acres of land from the U.S. government so they could have a mission Church. The cornerstone of the first church was laid August 20, 1832, on land that is now St.PeterCemetery on Geyer Road.
When our parish was founded, Missouri had been a state for just 12 years, and part of the United States for only 29 years. Andrew Jackson was President. St. Louis was 54 years old and had a population of about 6,000. St. Louis' "Old Cathedral” was not yet completed, and Kirkwood would not exist for more than two decades.
The parish would slowly grow at its original location for nearly 20 years until the destiny of St. Peter Church and School and its early parishioners would be influenced by the railroad and linked to the nation's western expansion. In 1849, a plan was approved for a new Pacific Railroad route stretching from St. Louis to the West Coast. Designed by James P Kirkwood, Chief Engineer of the New York and Erie Railroad the railroad route would travel directly through St. Peter’s property. Archbishop Kenrick sold five acres of parish land to the railroad for a right of way.
Two significant events occurred in May 1853 that would influence the future of St. Peter Church and School. First, on May 11, the first train from St. Louis steamed into Kirkwood; second, lots for the new town of Kirkwood would be sold at auction on May 26. The sale was a large success and the City of Kirkwood was established. St. Peter Church and School would rise to the challenge of serving the spiritual and academic needs of those drawn to the new and rapidly expanding City.
At the beginning of the 21st century, over 1900 families are registered members of St. Peter Parish. One cannot worship at St. Peter Church, visit the parish school, or attend parish functions without witnessing the life and faith being nurtured here. Our ministries touch all ages from pre-schoolers and teenagers to young families and seniors. Today, over 50 different parish organizations provide fellowship and outreach activities for our parishioners, as well as opportunities for Christian service. Volunteers share their time and talents ministering to those in need of support and prayers. St. Peter Parish is also blessed to have an active Youth Ministry, Athletic Association, St. Vincent dePaul Society, liturgical ministers, and many other volunteers.