From the parish history:
Catawissa was growing at the turn of the century. After its establishment in 1860, it proved to be a center of activity for the local settlers. By the early 20th century, not only did the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad pass through Catawissa, but a variety of businesses had opened in town including two general stores, a lumber yard, a grain mill and elevator, two blacksmiths, a cobbler, a dentist, two doctors, a barber, and two saloons. On June 18, 1909, the Bank of Catawissa was established with Mr. Ben Scheve, Sr. as president, Mr. William E. Kramme, vice-president, and Mr. Martin P. Geatley as cashier.Address:
As the general population grew, so did the Catholic congregation. St. Patrick church was still the only church in the area. The modest distance of about two miles from town to church was difficult in agreeable weather. In rainy and winter conditions, the roads could wash out with mud so thick the wagons would get stuck. As a result, some parishioners asked that a new church be built closer to town. While many of the townspeople were in favor of the idea, the issue created some dissention.
Recounting the circumstances of the parish's foundation, Father T.J. Walsh, the second pastor of St. James wrote, "Father O'Reilly was not in favor of the new church, but the Archbishop (Glennon) permitted its erection after six months agitation and collection of sufficient funds. In an interview, Dr. William McHugh, D.D.S., recalls what he heard concerning the dispute about a new church. He said, "When that church in Catawissa was built, some funny things went on about that. There was some fellow named Jim Dalton in Catawissa that sponsored and backed this church up. Now all the Irish down around my neighborhood where I was raised didn't go so much for that Catawissa church. John Lynch, Johnny Lynch's father, ....referred to St. James church as the St. Jimmy Dalton church."
An acre of property was secured from James Whitsett and the Bank of Kimmswick on February 21, 1913. This was recorded in the Recorder of Deeds Office of Franklin County, Missouri. Work began immediately on the foundation of the church. The cornerstone was donated by B.A.Henderson of Pacific, Mo. and was laid on May 18, 1913 by Father C.E.Byrne of Holy Name Church in St. Louis. He later became the Bishop of Galveston, Texas.
The church was dedicated on September 1, 1913.
1107 Summit Drive
Catawissa, Missouri 63015
The church is about 41 highway miles southwest of downtown Saint Louis.