Visitors Guide to the
116 Church Street
Holy Family Parish Log Church in Cahokia, Illinois is the oldest continuously sited church
in the state of Illinois. The
Holy Family Parish is the second oldest Catholic
Parish in the state being established in May of 1699 when the
French priest Father Jean St. Cosme and two workmen erected a missionary
cross, a chapel and a log rectory. The original log church built by Father
St. Cosme was destroyed
by a fire in the 1730's and the subsequent church was also destroyed by
fire in 1783. Only a bell suspended from a tree in the churchyard, a
missal printed in 1683, a monstrance made in 1717, a chalice, and a paten
were saved from the 1783 fire. Pope John Paul II used the chalice in his Mass when he
visited St. Louis in 1999.
on the present church, with a capacity of over 100 people, was begun
shortly afterward but it was not until 1799 that the Church was dedicated. The church's construction is typical of the French
architecture of the era. Built in the poteaux-sur-solle
(post-on-sill) manner, a vertical log style that uses hewn walnut logs
placed upright on a horizontal base. The roof timbers are oak, and the
roof itself is made of cypress clapboards covered by sycamore and the
church is held
together entirely with wooden pegs instead of nails. In l949, Father
Joseph Mueller "rediscovered" the old log church that had been
covered over with white clapboarding and the Log Church was restored in
time for the parish’s 250th anniversary. An old cemetery that contains the graves of many
of the parish’s priests and the locally prominent Jarrot family is located behind the church.
Churches have long performed important functions
as religious and social centers for their communities. Important notices
were posted on the church’s front doors, militia drills took place on
church grounds after Sunday services, and were used for public meetings.
Given its importance to the local community, it is probable that Lewis and
Clark were well acquainted with the Holy Family Parish Log Church.
|Visit our special Lewis
and Clark Section to learn more about the Corps of Discovery’s
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experience during the winter of 1803-04.
The Holy Family Parish Log Church is part of a
historic district that includes the Colonial Cahokia State Historic
Sites complex that also features the Cahokia
Courthouse, the Jarrot Mansion, the Martin-Boismenue
House, and a Visitors Center.
Visiting the Holy
Family Parish Log Church
10 am - 4 pm from Memorial Day through Labor Day
(Times subject to availability of the volunteer docents)
Open for Latin Mass each Sunday at 9 am
Open for tours with advance notice
There is no charge to visit the Holy Family
Parish Log Church.
Directions: The Holy Family Parish Log Church is located near the intersection of IL-3 and
IL-157 approximately 3 1/2 miles south of I-55 and I-64 across the river
from downtown St. Louis.
W 90° 11.321'
Learn more about the Cahokia area.
- Contact information for the Diocese of Belleville which oversees the
Holy Family Parish Log Church.