History of St. Joseph in Elgin
May 6, 2021
“In the summer of 1887 a group of Germans obtained an option on the Presbyterian Church on Villa Street,” according to the book That All May Be One, a History of the Rockford Diocese, by Father Robert R. Miller.
The property cost $4,000 dollars (about $134,000 today). That purchase would lead to the founding of St. Joseph Parish in Elgin.
Today, the Knights of Columbus Hall for Msgr. Henry Schryer Council 654 stands on the site of the original church. 
To raise money, members of the German community at that time knocked on doors to invite people to join or cooperate with the parish, make donations, take part in a week long festival and, of course, hold raffles. One of the raffle prizes was a cigar box, which was a favorite prize back then. 
The current church (left) was built 16 years later in 1903 at the current location.
The parochial school started in the basement of the first parish and has grown over time. In 2020, both the St. Joseph and St. Laurence parish schools closed to create the St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy, a feeder school for St. Edward Central Catholic High School in Elgin, housed in the old St. Joseph School. 
During the weekends, parishioners attend one of the nine Masses in Spanish and two in English. Monday through Friday there is an 8:30 a.m. Mass in English and 6:30 p.m. Mass in Spanish.  
More than a century ago, about 70 families built the small parish, The 2020-21 Diocesan Directory lists 1,860 families registered. Before the pandemic, there were more than 4,000 people attending the weekend Masses.
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