Parish History

A Brief History of Holy Trinity

In 1887, Reverend Killian Flasch, Bishop of La Crosse acknowledged the need for a new parish on the south side of La Crosse and appointed a committee to determine a site for the new church and oversee the project. The first structure, Saint Nicholas, was dedicated on Sunday, October 30, 1887. The first Solemn High Mass was sung at Saint Nicholas Church on November 8, 1887.

In response to a growing congregation, the church members decided on January 1, 1894 to begin making plans for a new church building, which was constructed and dedicated on December 4, 1894 to the Most Holy Trinity. The original building was converted into classrooms for the school operated by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The Sisters later built a convent on South Park and 15th Streets to better accommodate the school operation.

In 1915, Holy Trinity High School was founded as the first Catholic high school in La Crosse. In 1928, Holy Trinity High School graduated its last class of thirty four students and Aquinas High School opened in September of that year.

In 1929, the Holy Trinity Bowling Association was formed and the original nine pin bowling alley in Leo Hall was replaced with two new ten pin alleys. Pins were originally set by hand, but mechanical pinsetters were installed in 1937. The alleys were used regularly until they were removed from Leo Hall in the 1980s. Leo Hall continued to function as a multi-purpose space for social events and receptions throughout the 1980s and early 2000s.

The congregation and school’s student body continued to expand, leading to modifications of the school and church buildings between 1940 and 1952. Further remodeling, updated electric lighting, and repainting in the church building continued throughout the 1970s.

In 1987, the Holy Trinity Catholic Congregation celebrated one hundred years of serving the south side of La Crosse.

La Crosse Public Library Finding Aid

Wisconsin Historical Society