A Community Rich in Tradition and History
St. Jude School and Parish is known for its welcoming community, rich tradition, and dedicated families. Our school is balanced with large school advantages and a small school feel providing a nurturing environment to meet the needs of each student. Today our school includes 466 students and 40 educators focused on educating the whole child. Some of our newest facilities include interactive kindergarten classrooms, intervention and speech resource rooms, Clevertouch Boards in every room, and the Parish Center complete with a contemporary library, gymnasium, art room, music facility and technology classroom.
The Parish officially began in January of 1957. The school then opened its doors in September of 1958 with 643 children under the leadership of Principal Sister Melithon. Originally there were fourteen classrooms, eight on the lower level and six on the upper floor. The original church was designed to be a temporary structure that would eventually become part of the school. Since the current church was dedicated in 1970, the original place of worship is now a gymnasium, endearingly referred to as the ‘Old Gym’, and serves as a multi-purpose room. Remnants of the original confessionals and pipe organs can still be seen in the Old Gym today.
Although St. Jude School opened its doors in 1958, our story begins just after the turn of the century. In 1912, a farmer named Henry Kramer drove a horse and buggy on a slow, bumpy trek from his dairy farm just outside of Cincinnati headed to the green countryside about seven miles to the west, where he and his growing family could spread out and settle for good.
Kramer, who originally came to America from Oldenburg, Germany, traveled in a buggy and wagon with his wife, Elizabeth Bosse Kramer and seven children- Harry, Lillian, Florence, Helen, Frieda, and Rosella. He had agreed to buy 56 ½ acres along the Cincinnati-Louisville Pike. The $8,000 in gold coins needed for the purchase was rolled up in socks and tucked in with the rest of their belongings.
Kramer remodeled a house along the dirt road, which later was renamed Bridgetown Road and farmed his land for 40 years with a team of horses. Kramer often told his children and grandchildren that he hoped they would someday build a church on his land.
As Cincinnati’s population boomed after World War II, so did the city’s western suburbs. First and second generation immigrants, many of them German Catholics, were attracted by the rolling hills that reminded them of their homeland. St. Bernard, St. Ignatius, Our Lady of Lourdes, Our Lady of Visitation, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga were among the parishes that grew to overflowing during the decade after the war ended. By 1955, the need for another parish was clear, and each of those parishes contributed part of their territory for the new St. Jude Parish.
Henry Kramer’s dream came true in his lifetime. In 1956, for a nominal fee, he sold just over 16 acres to the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for the new parish. Meanwhile, the Hussey family sold the Archdiocese its house along bridgetown Road near the Kramer farm.
Starting a new parish is no easy task. Monsignor Stanley Bertke, the founding pastor and a number of founding parishioners held countless meetings at the old Alpine Inn (now Nick and Tom’s), or in the basement of the Mack Volunteer Firehouse.
St. Jude parishioners were generous with their time and skills from the very beginning. It was the families that made the parish what it is today. Parish members conducted the various fundraising activities, such as the raffle, the socials, the festivals, the card parties, and research surveys; they took care of the parish books and finances, the advertising for the bulletin and recording of individual Sunday collections. They also dug the ditches for electrical conduit and installed parking lights and painted the entire interior of the school. The parishioners even made all of the altar linens and vestments used in the parish and cleaned the parish house in the absence of a housekeeper. St. Jude’s family involvement is part of the deep rooted tradition that keeps us thriving today!
The story of our community began more than 100 years ago. We take pride in honoring that tradition while preparing our students for the 21st century.