The church high atop a hill in Millvale, along the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, was completed in 1900, making it the first church in the United States built from the ground up.
Before having this home, Croatians worshipped at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Grant Street and then at St. Mary of the Assumption on 57th Street.
A devastating fire destroyed most of St. Nicholas Church.
After a little more than a year, the rebuilt – and more austere -- church was dedicated in 1922.
Father Albert Zagar became pastor of St. Nicohlas Church.
Maxo Vanka arrived in Millvale to paint the first series of murals of the Croatian immigrant experience. Later that year, Time magazine dedicated a full page, with three photographs, to the new murals dubbing them, “one of the few distinguished sets of church murals in the U.S.”
Again at the invitation of Father Zagar, Maxo Vanka returned to St. Nicholas, adding murals with a pacifist theme.
St. Nicholas celebrated its golden jubilee.
The convent was created to house the Sisters of St. Francis who were teaching at St. Nicholas.
The new rectory/parish house was dedicated.
New murals, by Yugoslavian artist Ivan Joko Knezevic, were finished, altering a number of Vanka’s original murals.
St. Nicholas Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka was formed.
Hurricanes Ivan and Francis damaged the church and murals.
Pittsburgh Diocese forms the Shrines of Pittsburgh, with St. Nicholas included as one of six.
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Thanks to detailed planning, and generous funding, St. Nicholas Church has been recognized for its historic structure.