Bell Event Centre
Cincinnati, OH 45202
St. Paul Church is a former Roman Catholic church located on the southeastern corner of Twelfth and Spring Streets in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States, in the city’s Pendleton neighborhood. The German-speaking parish was formed in the winter of 1847-1848 to serve the members of St. Mary’s Church who lived east of Clay Street. Under the leadership of Vicar-General Joseph Ferneding, the members bought the present site and surrounding properties in February 1848; their design was finalized four months later, and construction was financed by the sale of the land now comprising the surrounding neighborhood. Construction was finished in 1850; the completed building measures 150 by 68 feet (46 m × 21 m) and stands 48 feet (15 m) tall with a tin-covered gabled roof; the building is built of brick on a stone foundation. A fire in 1899 destroyed all but the church walls and German-made stained glass windows, but reconstruction began at once, and the new St. Paul’s was dedicated on October 7, 1900. Light fills the interior and the proscenium is supported by twelve Corinthian columns. This brick Romanesque structure has broad Doric pilasters set in its corners and between its tall, round arched windows. It has a Renaissance tower capped with a Pope’s Mitre cupola roof and gilded cross. The three arched doorways face Spring Street.
In 1850 there were 115,000 people living in Cincinnati, many of which were German-speaking Catholics living in Over The Rhine. In 1843 Father Joseph Ferneding was asked to begin planning a church to be built to be named St. Paul in Over The Rhine. Work on the church was completed in January 1850. Father Ferneding was Pastor at St. Paul until 1866. The first two stained glass windows were done by F.X. Zettler, a German glass artist. The first was installed in the 1900’s to commemorate the 50th wedding anniversary of parishioners, the Hemmelgarn. This window won first prize at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. The second window by Zettler was installed a few years later in memory of a Priest of the church at that time. The remaining stained glass windows were installed in 1925 for the churches 75th anniversary.
By 1970, with people moving from the city to the suburbs, the congregation had dwindled to only 70 members. The Diocese decided to deconsecrate the building & closed the doors to St. Paul’s. That same year the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. St. Paul’s was deconsecrated in 1974, the church complex was named to the National Register of Historic Places in the same year; the buildings compose a historic district, the “St. Paul Church Historic District”.
In 1981, The Verdin Company, North America’s oldest bell and clock company, purchased St. Paul’s Church, convent, schools, and rectory. The buildings were restored and the church was transformed into a bell and clock museum/showroom. The other buildings were transformed into art galleries. The records for this parish are located at Old St. Mary’s Church. When The Verdin Company bought the building it was in extreme disrepair, and the restoration work was to climb to one and half million dollars. After the two-year-long work was completed, the beautiful building housed The Verdin Company corporate headquarters and the Verdin Bell and Clock Museum. In 1983, the Ohio Historical Society gave the Verdin Company an award for its use of the church building, praising their restoration and adaptive reuse of the church. Featuring hand-painted murals, marble, stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings, terrazzo flooring, & a cobblestone courtyard, this venue made for an unrivaled setting for events.
Christy Cafeo & her family purchased The Bell Event Centre in 2008 and founded the Bell Event Centre. The facility has remained a popular venue for weddings and corporate events. The architectural type of the Church is Romanesque with vaulted ceilings & golden pineapples which are a “sign of friendship & hospitality”. The altar is supported by 12 corinthian columns.