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Father Donald MacLeod

The Rectory
was built over 120 years ago and is listed on the National Historic Register. The Midwest Preservation Society is working hard to restore it back to its original condition.

The facility has over 6000 square feet of space and had 4 levels. On the first level, it has a parlor, a living room, library, formal dining room, a kitchen as well as a bathroom. The kitchen has a servants staircase going up to the second level where the servants quarters are located. The second level has four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a beautiful staircase going to the first floor. It also has a staircase leading up to the huge attic. It is located near the servants quarters.

Father Donald MacLeod, author of The History of Roman Catholicism in North America, was struck by a train and killed in Sedamsville near this location in the late 1800's.  He was on his way to provide comfort and sermon to a seriously ill woman when he was hit by an oncoming train on the Indianapolis and Cincinnati Railroad and killed instantly.


The Rectory is one of four buildings once belonging to Our Lady of Perpetual Help. The Rectory housed the priests that served the community. The church itself was dedicated on May 5, 1889. However the parish was organized by German speaking members of St. Vincent de Paul in 1878. The Gothic Revival style church sits high on a hill overlooking Sedamsville and replaced another church built on Sedam Avenue that was prone to flooding.


The school, built in 1907, closed in 1976 and merged with Holy Family parish in East Price Hill. When Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish closed, the remaining families joined Holy Family as well. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church was stripped of its sacred items and the building was sold. The original church bells and organ were installed at Holy Family as were the icons, originally given to Our Lady in 1887 by Pope Leo XIII.


Our Lady of Perpetual Help, located in Sedamsville on Cincinnati, Ohio's western fringes, is an abandoned church that holds a prominent stance over the neighborhood and the remains of the business district.


The history of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is traced to the first English filial congregation of the Catholic church on Sycamore Street, St. Francis Xavier's church that was in charge of the Jesuit Fathers. Considered the "mother" English-speaking parish in Cincinnati, St. Xavier was instrumental in arranging the development of Catholicism in the western and eastern parts of the city.


Because Cincinnati was considered a booming community in the 1800s, relating its gains to the meatpacking industries and its location along the Ohio River, it was not long before a new church was needed outside of St. Xavier. A large Irish population had developed on the southwestern part of the city, and in 1850, it was proposed to build a church on the northeast corner of 3rd and Mill Streets. The lease was signed on May 1, 1850 by Lemuel Page, John Bonte and John T. Chambers to Reverend John B. Purcell for $1,800 with the privilege of purchase at a price of $7,000. That privilege was exercised in May 1853.


Father Cahill, to whom the organization of the new church was entrusted to, built St. Patrick's cathedral in the same year, and it was blessed by Bishop Lamy on November 24.


The first filial church of St. Patrick's came only a little more than a decade later. The parish of the Atonement on West 3rd Street was begun in 1870 as aSedamsville Rectory chapel for the Sisters of Mercy, but was converted into a parish church with Father Homan as pastor.The second filial church of St. Patrick's was St. Vincent de Paul's in Sedamsville, on the west side of Cincinnati. St. Vincent was completed in 1861 under the organization of Father McLeod.


In 1878, a division occurred within the parish of St. Vincent de Paul, when German-speaking Catholics desired a Catholic school. Organized by Father Otto Jair, O.F.M. on January 27, Our Lady of Perpetual Help was formed in Sedamsville on Cincinnati's west end, and was made official on May 12, 1878. An old stone school house near the Ohio River on Sedam Street was purchased, with the upper floor being dedicated to church services, while the basement served as a school and teacher residence. Several years later, a new parochial residence was constructed on Dehli Avenue.


Frequent flooding required relocation, and property was purchased along Steiner Avenue for a new church. On June 10, 1888, the cornerstone was laid for the new building, and the new facility, designed in the Gothic Revival architectural style, was dedicated on May 5, 1889. Stretching for 145-feet in length, 51-feet in width, transept 70-feet and soaring high for 170-feet, the church that was perched on the hillside offered a commanding presence that overlooked the business district of Sedamsville.


The church contained four bells in the tower and an organ that was given to the parish by Pope Leo XIII. The basement housed the parochial school, while the edifice contained furnishings that cost approximately $30,000.Rectory Staircase

In 1890-1891, a new parsonage was constructed and the old residence was reused as a house for the Sisters who taught in the parochial school. In 1907, a new three-story school structure was constructed, although it was closed in 1976.


The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help closed in 1989 when it merged with the Holy Family parish in East Price Hill. The building was stripped of any decorative items, and the church bells and organ were installed at Holy Family.


In 1995, the church was purchased by John Klosterman from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who intended on redeveloping the property. Klosterman, who owned numerous properties in Sedamsville, along with his partner Jim Grawe, hoped for city and private financing to remake Sedamsville from a low-incomed neighborhood, hemmed in by steep hillsides and transportation arteries, into another East End - which is decidedly more upscale.











Sedamsville River Road Historic District

Located along River Road between 2449 River Road (east) to Mt. Echo Drive (west) (Sedamsville)


National Register of Historic Places – Listed October 10, 2008 (No.08000975)

Significance: A small hillside community located along the banks of the Ohio River, Sedamsville is one of Cincinnati's oldest neighborhoods. The Sedamsville River Road Historic District is proposed for nomination to the National Register for its association with one of the area's most important land, water, and rail transportation corridors, which influenced the area's growth and development, as well as for for its association with the German, Irish, and other immigrants who once lived there. Buildings in the proposed district range in date from 1860 to 1940, illustrating the evolution of Sedamsville from the mid-19th century, when well-to-do Cincinnatians had country homes overlooking the Ohio River there, through the early 20th century, when Sedamsville was densely built until the 1937 flood brought a loss of buildings, the demise of the business district, and a decline in population.


Father Klosterman


Rev. Joseph Klostermann, Pastor, Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Circa 1896




  1. "Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help." Greater Cincinnati Memory Project. Athenaeum of Ohio, Eugene H. Maly Memorial Library. 5 Sept. 2008 Page.
  2. Dan. "Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Sedamsville." Queen City Survey 23 Dec. 2007. 5 Sept. 2008 Entry.
  3. Lamott, Rev. John H., S.T.D. "Hierarchical Constitution." History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1921. Cincinnati: Mountel Press, 1921. 130. Print.
  4. Souvenir Golden Jubilee, St. Patrick's, Cincinnati, 1900. Deed of lease between Lamuel Page, John Bonte and John T. Chambers to John B. Purcell, May 1, 1850, recorded copy in the Supreme Court of Ohio, Church Case, printed records, IV, exhibits, pages 67-70. Reported in the Catholic Telegraph on May 4, 1850.
  5. Catholic Telegraph, June 29 and November 30, 1850.
  6. Catholic Telegraph, September 1870. July 3, 1873. Deed between Sisters of Mercy to John B. Purcell, March 15, 1873, recorded in the Hamilton County Recorder's Office, Book 409, page 237. Duplicated copy in the Supreme Court of Ohio, Church Case, printed records, II, 18; IV, exhibit 52, pages 76-77.
  7. Deed from Henry F. Sedam to John B. Purcell, October 26, 1861, recorded in the Hamilton County Recorder's Office, Book 286, page 480. Duplicated copy in the Supreme Court of Ohio, ut supra IV, exhibit 28, pages 34-35. Reported in the Catholic Telegraph on November 23, 1861, XXXI, page 252.
    7a. Catholic Telegraph, January 31 and May 12, 1878.
  8. Prendergast, Jane. "Salvation comes to 121-year old church." Cincinnati Enquirer 15 Jan. 2011, ed.: n. pag. Web. 21 Jan. 2011. Article.



Our Lady of Perpetual Help  Church, School & Rectory


Address: Steiner Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio
Community: Sedamsville
Status: Closed 1989, United with Holy Family
Congregation Organized: January 27, 1878
Original Church Dedicated: May 12, 1878
Parent Parishes: St. Vincent de Paul
Ethnicity: German
Records for this Parish are located at:
Notes: On January 27, 1878 the German members of St. Vincent de Paul,
Sedamsville formed their own parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help.



General Information - The congregation was organized May 12, 1878, by the Franciscan Fathers. an old school building, situated on Sedam street was purchased and the upper story used as a place of worship, while the basement was occupied as a parochial school and teacher's residence. Owing to the frequent annoyance by floods, it becaome necesary to remove to a more suitable location. The parochial residence had already been built on Dehli Avenue. Several vacant lots were secured for the new church, fronting on Steiner Avneue, and adjourning the parsonage. On June 10, 1888, the corner-stone of the present ... stucture was laid, the dedication occurring May 5, 1889. The building is of brick, 145 feet in length and 51 feet in width, transept 70 feet, surmounted by a tower 170 feet high, containing a chime of four bells. The basement is occupied as a parochial school. The edifice, exclusive of furnishings, cost about $30,000, and is built upon a elevated plateau, commanding a beautiful view of the Ohio River and Kentucky Hills. In 1890-91 a handsome new parsonage (The Rectory) was built, the old residence now being used by the Sisters who teach the parochial school. ...The congreation numbers 150 families."





Church of St. Vincent de Paul, Sedamsville.

Archdiocese of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)


Description:  Congregation organized in 1862, and church dedicated in 1863. It is a gothic frame structure, 20 x 60 feet. The church of St. Vincent de Paul was a work of love from the foundation stone to its modest spire. Feeling the need of a Catholic church in Sedamsville, the well-known 'Squire Sedam,' though a Protestant, gave an acre or more of groun on condition that it be used for chruch purposes perpetually. What ws then the nucleus of the present thriving congregation had a little chapel in a private house, their pastor being Father, afterwards the beloved Bishop rosecrans. Mr. John Rogers, a pioneer of Cincinnati, a dear friend of Archbishiop Prucell, undertook the work of rasiing the ways and means to build the new church; Messrs. Schmidt and Richardson were most earnest in assisting him and the Protestants in the neighborhood most generous. The church was completed and dedicated, Father Rosecrans continuing its pastor until succeeded by Rev. Xavier Donald McLeod, who lost his life in by a trian while on sick call, Friday evening, Juen 30, 1865. ...The congregation has a membership of 50 families.

Church of St. Vincent DePaul, Sedamsville, Ohio circa 1863


Church of St. Vincent DePaul, Sedamsville, Ohio circa 1863


Our Lady Of Perpetual Help

Our Lady of Perpectual Help, Sedamsville, Ohio circa 1896




Sedamsville, Ohio circa 1896 "Our Lady of Perpectual Help

Sedamsville, Ohio circa 1896 "Our Lady of Perpectual Help