The History of SAINT EDWARD CATHOLIC CHURCH
During the succeeding years the parish grew and in six years the church had become insufficient for the numbers and new construction was needed. On November 10, 1901, Father Fintan Kraemer, O.S.B. laid the cornerstone for the present church and on July 4, 1905, the new church was dedicated. The main altar, crafted in Germany, is of hand-carved oak and onyx-inlay. The statues on the main alter—Saint Edward, Saint Catherine and Saint Henry—are of hand-carved wood and painted. The statues marking the 14 stations on the Way of the Cross also are made of German craftsmanship. The church is of Gothic design and its architect was Charles L. Thompson. The pointed arches, the soaring lines, the slender columns have a close kinship with the many European cathedrals. Saint Edward’s school opened in 1885 with 64 pupils. After a series of lay teachers, the Olivetan Benedictine Sisters of Jonesboro took over the school in 1892. Classes have been conducted in three different buildings until the current building was dedicated in 1955. A new wing and gymnasium were added in 1963 and the enrollment, bolstered by busing of students from Little Rock Air Force Base, hit an all-time high of 363 in 1964.
In order for the school to meet the ever changing educational needs of modern students, a school addition was completed in September 2007. This addition included four new classrooms, a top-of-the-line science lab and computer lab, and a media center. As enrollment declined between 2007 and 2018 it became necessary to close the school at the end of the 2018/19 school year.
In August of 2019 an Early Learning Center was opened in the former school. The center provides preschool education for children 18 months or older. In addition the center offers a summer care program and spring/winter care for children up to the age of 12.
Saint Edward’s Parish sits in the middle of progress and expansion in downtown Little Rock-the River Market District, the President Clinton Library, the headquarters of the Heifer Project, renovated buildings, new buildings all lie in wait. The Capital city is undergoing a cultural explosion unlike any seen before. With a modern and more appealing campus Saint Edward could not only benefit from this phenomenon, but with its multicultural and ethnic makeup could very well be a leader. But just as at every stage of its history, the future of Saint Edward lies in the people. The German immigrants had the vision and hard work to begin the parish. The Spanish-speaking parishioners have shared their culture and devout Catholic faith. Most recently it has been the sacrifices of the whole parish that made the renovation of the church and the creation of the new school building possible. The future of St. Edward now lies in you.