For 113 years, parishioners have been flocking to St. Anthony’s Church in Beckemeyer, Illinois. The church was—and is—an important gathering spot, not just for spiritual guidance, but for support and community as well.
Beckemeyer was settled by coal miners and their families, most from the northern areas of Germany. Having a church was important to them, and so in October, 1905, the parish of St. Anthony was formed. Not long after, a combined church and school building was built.
The original two-story brick structure had classrooms on the first floor and seating for 224 parishioners on the second level. As Beckemeyer grew, so did the parish, and in 1927 plans were made to build a new church in a Spanish Mission style. Timing couldn’t have been worse. The economic downturn and closing of the coal mine in 1928 put a wrench in the plans and building was suspended for years. Finally in November, 1938, the beautiful new church was dedicated. In 1950, a new rectory, designed in the same style, was built alongside the church.
The parish church was always a gathering place for social as well as spiritual activities. Because of this, St. Anthony’s had a parish hall as early as 1909. In 1923 it was enlarged to house bowling alleys! The alleys were later replace by a kitchen and meeting room. A growing need for more space led to a brand new parish center. Completed in 1978, it houses a gym, cafeteria, classroom, restrooms and shower rooms.
Like our other local churches, St. Anthony’s hosts an annual picnic—theirs is always in June—a source of great home cooking and fun activities.
St. Anthony’s Catholic Church
451 West 3rd Street, Beckemeyer, IL
St. Anthony’s Church is another marker of what life in Clinton County is all about: a sense of community and being there for each other. No wonder it’s such a great place to live and visit!