Sunday, March 15, 2009

St Raymond parish, Westchester or Parkchester

St. Raymond's church is on East Tremont Avenue at Castle Hill Avenue.  This view looks south. 
See page 171 for an account of the founding of St. Raymond Parish in 1842 by Father Felix Vilanis, "who had been the first rector of St Joseph's Seminary in Fordham two years earlier." Page 141 has an old photo of the original St Raymond's church. Note that this was once the Town of Westchester within the County of Westchester, before Bronx County was formed. See page 174 for later history and photos of the present church, built in 1898, shown also above.
The parish website is linked here. The rectory address is 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx NY 10462, and the phone number is 718-792-4044.
McNamara's Blog, linked here, reproduces a 1914 history of St. Raymond's parish.  This snippet adds much to other accounts, as it describes the early parish history in more detail.

The rectory and church seen from Castle Hill Avenue. The front of the church faces Tremont Avenue, to the right.
Clicking on any photo enlarges it. Above is the interior of St. Raymond's church. According to the New York City Organ Project, the church, built in 1898, was designed by George H. Streeton, who later designed St. James Cathedral in Brooklyn.  As of November, 2010, the lower church is being used for services.  A note in the parish bulletin states that the upper church will be renovated by the spring of 2011.

St. John Baptist de la Salle. A biography is here.

The above building now houses the girls' high school.

Above, looking west from the front steps of the church. It seems the church yard was much larger before this elementary school was built about 1950, as shown in this link a helpful reader has sent me. It is a 1905 view from past the school and facing the church. It shows the extent of the graveyards in 1905. It is also a good view of the church.

Above, looking west. The parish owns two other cemeteries, about two miles east.

Above, the rear of the elementary school is seen from Purdy Street.
Above, looking south from Tremont Avenue. Both the elementary school and the girls' high school are entered through this gate.

At some point after 1924, year unknown, the parish built the above building as a convent for the Sisters of Charity. It seems that in the late 1950's a new convent was built on the south side of Metropolitan Avenue, and the De La Salle Brothers moved from a frame house several blocks away to this commodious building. One can see the chapel and a parlor facing the sun. The entrance is on the far side, on Castle Hill Avenue. The new convent, with elegance resembling Motel 6, is now used for parish or archdiocesan offices.

The parish website is linked here. The rectory address is 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx NY 10462, and the phone number is 718-792-4044.
The parish maintains an elementary school at 2380 East Tremont Avenue, adjacent to the church, a girls' high school, St. Raymond Academy at 1725 Castle Hill Avenue, and St. Raymond High School for Boys, at 2151 St. Raymond Avenue, Bronx NY 10462, main entrance on Purdy St. The De La Salle Christian Brothers have been members of the teaching staff since 1909. The 2008 edition of the Official Catholic Directory gave these enrollment figures: 654 students in the elementary school, 351 students in the girls' academy, and 714 students in the boys' high school.

Above is St. Raymond High School for Boys at the corner of St. Raymond Avenue and Purdy Street.

In the fall of 2011, a new entrance and addition was constructed along Purdy Street.
An 1924 aerial view of St. Raymond's parish may be viewed here, courtesy of the New York Public Library.

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