Mother of God Church
Mother of God Parish (German: Mutter Gottes Kirche) is a parish of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, Kentucky, located at 119 West 6th Street in Covington.
Due to political unrest throughout the German states in 1848-49, many German immigrants began moving to the United States to establish thriving communities. During this period, there was a large migration of Germans into the Ohio River Valley.
Today, the cultural heritage, architecture and growth of Covington are strongly connected to its German roots. In the Mutter Gottes(Mother of God) Historic District, architecture represents an important period in Covington’s development as a residential community. The area consists primarily of intact mid- to late-nineteenth century domestic architecture built by middle-class German immigrants who settled in Covington beginning in the 1840s during Covington’s period of greatest growth (1840-1860). The Old Town area, located southwest of the original city limits, was one of the first areas to develop as a result of this rapid growth.
In 1841, the Reverend Ferdinand Kuhr, a native of Eslohe, Prussia, was appointed to organize the Covington Germans into a new congregation. Mother of God congregation became the second Catholic parish to be established in Northern Kentucky. St. Mary’s Parish in Covington was the first.
The first Mother of God church was founded on the southwest corner of 6th and Washington in 1842. The original brick building was just 100 X 50 feet. When the chapel opened, the sacristy of the new church also served as a classroom for a parish school for boys. In 1857, a separate school for girls was constructed across 6th Street from the church.
The church soon became overcrowded. In 1870, Father Kuhr and the parishioners began planning for the construction of a new Mother of God Church. The old church building was demolished and ground was broken for the new Italian Renaissance Revival structure. The cornerstone of the new church was set in place on July 3, 1870 and the building was dedicated on September 10, 1871.
The new Mother of God Church sported a large portico supported by four Corinthian columns, twin renaissance towers and a central dome topped with a lantern and cupola. In 1875 a magnificent Koehnken Organ was installed in the church balcony.
In 1891, the congregation celebrated the Silver Jubilee of the establishment of the parish. In preparation for this event, the interior of the church was completely remodeled. Additions included five murals by famous Vatican artist Johann Schmitt, an early teacher of Frank Duveneck, who was baptized in the parish in 1848, new hand-carved altars by Schroder Brothers of Cincinnati, and two imported stained glass windows by Mayer & Company of Munich, Germany.
In 1986, the cupola was damaged by a tornado. While it was being repaired, welders accidentally set the dome on fire. It took more than a million dollars to restore the church to its original appearance.