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   St. Mary's Church


Historic Name

St. Mary's Church


310 E 10 Street


City of Erie

Tax Parcel


Historic District



Class 1 (Definitions of Classes)

State Key Number


Historic Function

Religion - religious structure


Gothic Revival Towers







Barn Type on property


Last Entry Update



Mr. Wolfgang Erhart, along with his immediate family, first came to Erie in 1928. They were one of the first prominent German Catholic families to settle in the area, and Erhart served the community as a prominent business owner for the majority of his life in the city. For many years he managed an equestrian tack shop at the intersection of State and Tenth, and soon a community of similar ethnicity and faith began to crop up in the region. The Erharts and other families in the area decided to unite together in order to form one congregation in 1933, and Father Mosquelette gave the first mass in a log house belonging to Mr. Erhart soon after.

It would not be until 1937 that a lot was bought to serve as a more permanent residence for the congregation. A small parcel of land was purchased by the community of German Catholics on Ninth and German streets, and the first St. Mary’s Church would be completed on that spot in 1839. On August 2nd, 1840, the church was officially blessed and named by Fr. Ivo Levitz. This incarnation of St. Mary’s Church served the German Catholic community well into the 1850’s and served as a staple of community and faith for those who were just entering into American society.

The modern building was built from 1853 to 1855 out of the parishioners’ pockets. Upon the completion of the project, the church’s onion-candle domed towers stood as a focal point on the Erie landscape, looming over the community as a symbol of faith and ethnic unity. After the project was completed, the arrival of the Benedictine Sisters would only serve to further advance the blossoming church and its congregation. Attempting to cross through Erie toward Minnesota, the four Bavarian Benedictine Sisters were persuaded to stay and aid St. Mary’s parish school. In 1859 a motherhouse was built adjacent to the church for the sisters, allowing them to serve the church and encourage the community for an elongated time of worship and spiritual education. St. Benedict’s Academy, the motherhouse, was in use for over 100 years until another was constructed in 1970. The sisters continue the tradition of spiritual outreach and education into the present day, and their work remains exceedingly important in the face of Erie’s poverty and secularism of the modern age.

There are a multitude of ministries that the Benedictine Sisters continually offer the city, including the Saint Benedict Child Development Center, Saint Benedict Educational Center, the Neighborhood Art House, Emmaus Ministries and Soup Kitchen, and many more. The church and its affiliated Benedictine Sisters are a foundation of the surrounding community, offering spiritual support for those in need and continuing the faithful traditions of Mr. Wolfgang Erhart and the original German Catholic settlers of the 19th century.

Unfortunately, St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception Church closed on June 26th, 2015. They merged with the traditionally polish St. Stanislaus Catholic Church on East 13th Street earlier this year due to financial burdens and a dwindling congregation. It was no longer practical for the church to stay open under these conditions, and St. Stanislaus has welcomed the parishioners with open arms. Luckily, the Benedictine Sisters are continuing their educational efforts in Erie and are still devoted to the needs of city citizens.





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Photo courtesy, Erie County Assessment Office



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