A powerful research tool for the serious or casual visitor.
Home > Religion > St. John the Baptist Burnsville/Savage

The bell at St. John the Baptist in four churchesSt. John the Baptist Catholic Church was chartered in October of 1854 as the 13th Catholic congregation in the Diocese of St. Paul. The first Mass was celebrated by Fr. Augustine Ravoux, a missionary priest, in 1853 in the home of William Byrne.

That year, a log structure was built and a cemetery consecrated on land donated by the Byrne family. This parcel of land was in Burnsville, located near Judicial Road. In 1866, a frame structure was built and a new bell that is still used today weighing 1,800 pounds was installed in the tower. Bishop Grace dedicated the church in October 1866. On April 13, 1883, the frame structure burned to the ground.

Another frame structure was built and was dedicated by Archbishop John Ireland in 1885. On Candlemas, 1902, a wood burning stove caused a fire and this church, too, burned to the ground. The Archbishop decreed another church would be built for the congregation of St. John the Baptist, but this time, the building would be located in the neighboring town of Hamilton (now called Savage) which among other amenities boasted an organized fire department.

The brick church was built at the cost of $11,497 and its cornerstone was laid on Oct. 5, 1902. The bell from the previous frame structures was recast and installed in the steeple of the new church. Fr. John A. Kane served as pastor until 1931.

On July 5, 1955, parishioners celebrated the church's 100th anniversary. Fr. Albert Ziskovsky, the pastor at the anniversary, had a special dream to build a parish school. By the time he left St. John's, he had raised $32,000. A new pastor made the dream a reality and on June 24, 1959, St. John the Baptist Catholic School and Convent were dedicated.

In the following decades, the congregation continued to grow and plans were made to replace the 1902 church. In 1984, the 1902 church was torn down and the structure in which St. John's parishioners worship today was built in its place. The cornerstone from the 1902 church, now installed near the church 125th Street entrance, is a reminder of the parish's tradition. The bell in the tower is in it's fourth church tower.
St. John the Baptist CemeteryThe original burial section at St. John the Baptist Cemetery, Judicial Road, Burnsville.
St. John the Baptist churchStatues from the 1902 still at the church in 2022.
St. John the Baptist churchStatues from the 1902 church still present in the 2022 church.
St. John the Baptist churchSt. John the Baptist Catholic Church view from parking lot entryr.
St. John the Baptist early choirIncluded - Bea Gallagher Dunn, Mary Dunn, Julia Foley, Mag Foley, Mary Connelly Kennealy, Rose Gallagher, Walter Dunn, Jim Connelly, Jim Lannon.
Father Anatole Oster - St. John the Baptist 1867 -1878A profile written by Jim Ross of the Dan Patch Historical Society.
Fr Patrick S. GlennonAlthough an older original tombstone is placed at the grave, the parish added a larger stone covering the grave of the one-time pastor of St. Johns.
Birth: 1835 , Rochester,Monroe County,New York, USA
Death: Mar. 16, 1900, Savage
Pastors of St. John the Baptist Catholic ChurchOriginally in Byrnesville/Burnsville and then moved to Savage in 1902, these are the names and dates of those who served as Pastor.
Pentecost window - St. John the Baptist SavageAlthough some windows were saved and re-used after the 1902 church was torn down, this and the Christmas windows were not.
IRISH WAKESLife long resident Pat Nicholson, son of Patrick and Nora Kennelly Nicholson proudly maintained four "pipes" used at the wake's of Burnsville Irish. One for his grandmother Sarah Kennedy Kennelly.

According to Irish tradition- Wakes lasted through two or three nights at the family home. Food, tobacco, snuff, and liquor were plentiful. Clay pipes, tobacco and snuff were also placed in the room. Every male caller was expected to take at least a puff. The smoke kept evil spirits from finding the deceased. Usually, a pipe and tobacco were place on a table next to the body. Occasionally, a pipe was laid on the chest of the deceased male.
Fr. Michael Saunders - St. John the Baptist dies 1941January 3, 1941 - Dakota County Tribune

Fr. Michael Saunders, 66, died Friday afternoon at St. Joseph's Hospital after an illness of two months. Born in Ireland in 1874, he was ordained in 1899. He came to Minnesota in 1904 and in 1939 named to St. John the Baptist.
1976 St. John the Baptist Savage builds new rectoryThe old rectory, which was moved from Burnsville after the church fire, was replaced in 1976.
st. John the Baptist, Savage Rectory After the fire of the Burnsville Church, the building was rebuilt in Savage. The rectory from Burnsville was moved to new site. Shown is Fr. Kane.
St. John the Baptist original rectoryThis rectory was moved from Burnsville to Savage when the church was rebuilt following the 1902 fire. It remained in use until
the completion of the school and convent.
Fr. Michael Saunders - St. John the Baptist dies 1941 - bio cardFr. Michael Saunders, 66, died Friday afternoon at St. Joseph's Hospital after an illness of two months. Born in Ireland in 1874, he was ordained in 1899. He came to Minnesota in 1904 and in 1939 named to St. John the Baptist.
Fr. Tim Sandquist2017 - 2019 served as Parochial Vicar at the parish.
St. John the Baptist Church SavageApril 1, 1976 The Dakota County Tribune reports: Savage - The St. John the Baptist rectory waits on a moving platform to be moved to West Savage. The old building will be replaced by a new, brick rectory and administrative building for the parish. The old rectory, built in the 1880s, first served as a depot house for the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railroad. It started being used as a rectory in the 1950s.
Fr. Tix leaves St. John's 2017A combined celebration, the 25th anniversary of becoming a priest and farewell as he leaves as Pastor of the Church.
St. John the Baptist 1902 - SavageEarliest photo of the front of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church after being rebuilt in
Hamilton/Savage, following the Burnsville fire..
St. John the Baptist Second RectoryAfter the church burnt in Burnsville in 1902 it was built in Savage with the Burnsville rectory moved to the site.
When the new school was built in 1958 the rectory was torn down and replaced by the convent. The house shown in this
photo was across the street from the church and purchased as the "second rectory". This photo shows it being moved
prior to the building of the present home.
St. John the Baptist SavageInterior of St. John the Baptist, Savage 2019.
St. John the Baptist choir update 1896September 24, 1896 Shakopee Argus -

The young ladies of the parish organized a choir last Sunday and we will hereafter have singing at high mass.
Miss Lizzie Regan is organist.
St. John the Baptist windowsMany of the window were saved from the 1902 St. John the Baptist Church to be used in the present structure.
St. John's Steeple fell but it wasn't an easy jobJuly 10, 1974 - St. John the Baptist tears down its 1902 church for a newer structure.
A history of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church SavageUntil 1965 St. John the Baptist in Savage was the parish for most of Burnsville, until the creation of Mary Mother of the Church. This history of the parish appears on their website.
1902 Fire at St. John the Baptist, Burnsville/SavageA Sun Newspaper article Feb 10, 1981 recalls the 1902 fire of
St. John the Baptist church then in Burnsville. As a result of this fire,the Archbishop made the decision to rebuilt in Hamilton (later named Savage).
The "First" History of St. John the Baptist Catholic ChurchThe parish was still in Byrnesville when this history was published. page 606 in the book The Catholic Church in the Diocese of St. Paul.
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church 150th anniversaryAnniversary program used during Memorial Day services at the parish cemetery. May, 2004.
St. John the Baptist campusA final photo of St. John the Baptist including the 1902 Church and Parish Hall, the first portion and second of the school, the convent and the "new rectory".The Church and Hall would be torn down for the new church.
307 files on 11 page(s) 8