St. Mary's: Kansas City's Oldest Episcopal Church

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri has a long history of serving the Kansas City community and being a leader within the Episcopal Diocese of West Missouri. A large collection of the Church’s operational and building records, meeting minutes, reports, correspondence, newsletters, service programs, and photographs that document this history were donated to the Missouri Valley Special Collections in 2014. We are excited to announce that this collection of St. Mary’s historical archives is now processed and available for research.











In 1857, an Episcopal Church was organized in Kansas City. At that time the church was named after Saint Luke and services were held in various church buildings around town. The St. Luke’s congregation built its first official building at 8th and Walnut streets in 1867. Mary Troost, a wealthy supporter of the Church, deeded land to the Episcopal Diocese for a new building with the stipulation that it be named after Saint Mary. She also gave land to St. Luke’s for a burial ground. In 1872, St. Luke’s changed its name to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and land was acquired for a new church building at 13th and Holmes, which was completed in 1887.














St. George’s Episcopal Church, which eventually became part of St. Mary’s, was started in 1891 at 32nd St. and Troost Ave. St. George’s occupied several other buildings, including one at Linwood and Paseo that burned down in 1954, until they formed a partnership with St. Mary’s that allowed them the use of their building. Bishop Arthur Vogel officially dissolved St. George’s Church in February 1989 and allowed the congregation to transfer membership to St. Mary’s. Along with church members, St. George’s records were also transferred to St. Mary’s and became part of the donation of materials that can be found in the Missouri Valley Special Collections.










A detailed finding aid for the SC206 St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Collection is now available to researchers. Additionally, selected photographs can be viewed online by browsing the “Churches” category of MVSC’s Digital Collections or by searching “SC206” on the KCHistory website.

About the Author

Kara Evans is a Collections Archivist in the Missouri Valley Special Collections.


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