How the establishment of the Church of the Ascension demonstrates the increase in Irish immigrants and Irish culture in late 19th century Minneapolis.

In the 19th century Ireland faced many problems. Famine, strife, political instability, and other issues. Due to these issues many Irish immigrants made their way to the U.S. and as they spread out around the country, one of the places they chose as their new homes was Minnesota, more specifically, Minneapolis.

The Church of the Ascension was built in 1890 by Father Alexander Christie. it became a place of community for Catholic immigrants in Minneapolis in what is now the Old Highland neighborhood. The area consisted mostly of Irish immigrants as well as some Catholic German immigrants. The first look of the church can be seen in the image at the bottom of the page. The Church of the Ascension parish continued to become a bigger part of Irish culture in Minneapolis over time, In an Irish newspaper titled “Irish Standard” there are many things posted about the Church of the Ascension, which continued to demonstrate it’s presence as a physical place where Irish immigrants could come together under similar beliefs to gain a better sense of community in a foreign country.

The location in Minneapolis helped contribute to an increase in the size of the surrounding Old Highland neighborhood which became a heart for Irish immigrants in an ever-growing city. The original parish of the church consisted of only about four families but as time went on it grew to become a large place of meeting for immigrants. In 1894, Father Jeremiah Harrington opened the Ascension school which help provide many immigrant children with the opportunity to an education. The Church of the Ascension was an important part of the history and development of Irish culture and community in Minneapolis from the late 19th century all the way up through today.


Old Highland Neighborhood Association, “1723 Bryant Avenue North: Church of the Ascension,” Minneapolis Historical, accessed May 2, 2019,

“The Irish Standard.” MNHS Hub – Viewer, The Irish Standard,


“Catholic Church Records for St. Paul/Minneapolis.” Catholic Church Records for St. Paul and Minneapolis,

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