by Tom Tolan – Part 3 of 6 in a series
In the early 1960s, St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church — now St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, at 128 W. Burleigh — was a relatively thriving parish, with a school attended by more than 1,000 children. Most parishioners were of German ancestry — many descended from “St. E’s” founders — or Polish families who had migrated from the east side of Holton. African-Americans were a definite presence, but they were less numerous in the parish than in the neighborhood. Fewer than 10 percent of the 1,056 pupils at St. Elizabeth’s in 1963 were black, and most of their families could be classified as middle-class.