St. Nicholas Croatian Catholic Parish

Image of original St. Nicholas Church

1900

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.

Fire damage of at St. Nicholas Church

1921

A devastating fire destroyed most of St. Nicholas Church.

Old photo of St. Nicholas Church

1922

After a little more than a year, the rebuilt – and more austere -- church was dedicated in 1922.

Father Zagar in mural

1931

Father Albert Zagar became pastor of St. Nicohlas Church.

Pastoral Croatia Mural

1937

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.”

Prudence Mural

1941

Again at the invitation of Father Zagar, Maxo Vanka returned to St. Nicholas, adding murals with a pacifist theme.

1950

St. Nicholas celebrated its golden jubilee.

1954

The convent was created to house the Sisters of St. Francis who were teaching at St. Nicholas.

1958

The new rectory/parish house was dedicated.

Balcony painting

1970

New murals, by Yugoslavian artist Ivan Joko Knezevic, were finished, altering a number of Vanka’s original murals.

Sign reads: This Property has been placed on the National Register of Historic places

1980

St. Nicholas Church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1991

The Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka was formed.

Weather damage on Pieta

2004

Hurricanes Ivan and Francis damaged the church and murals.

View from balcony

2019

Pittsburgh Diocese forms the Shrines of Pittsburgh, with St. Nicholas included as one of six.

Historic building St. Nicholas

This building is historic.

<better copy to come here once we have report and can link to it>

Thanks to detailed planning, and generous funding, St. Nicholas Church has been recognized for its historic structure.