In the mid to late 1850's, 26 mostly Irish-Catholic immigrant families settled in what was then southwestern Richfield Township. They claimed land along both sides of today's Nine Mile Creek. Settlers John Duggan and John Burke opened their homes to the community's first Masses in 1847. They named their settlement the "Cahill Community," after Fr. Thomas Cahill, the first of several Catholic missionaries from St. Anthony of Padua Church in the tiny village of St. Anthony that would later become the city of Minneapolis.
A log building was donated by parishioner Michael Delaney in 1857 for use as a church and school. it was placed on land donated by the Delaney, Fogarty, Ryan and Slavin families. The log church also served as a school until 1864, when parishioner Hugh Darcy deeded land on the southeast corner of today's 70th and Cahill Road for "a proper school." The one-room "Cahill School" was St. Patrick's Church for 20 years before the tiny log church became too small for the growing parish.
In 1884, a frame church with a tall steeple was erected across Cahill Road from the schoolhouse on land donated by Patrick Ryan. This church and the school became the centers of religion, education and social life of the community. In 1924, lightning and fire destroyed the frame church, which burned to its foundation. The altars and wooden cross atop the steeple were saved and used in the new Tudor-style church that was built on the same site later that year. This same wooden cross now hangs on the wall as you enter St. Martin's Social Hall.
The community continued to grow and in 1955, as the rural village of Edina was rapidly becoming a Minneapolis suburb, the parish purchased 27 acres of farmland at Valley View and Gleason Roads from parishioner Rose (Ryan) Dowd, with plans to eventually erect a larger church and an elementary parochial school. The main new "temporary" church and school were completed in 1961. The "temporary" church served the parish for nearly 20 years.
Because of a shortage of nuns to run it, the school never opened as a full-time parochial school. Instead, its classrooms were used for religion classes for the children and youth of the parish. The current church, designed by parishioner and architect, the late Gene Freerks, was added to the rest of the existing complex in 1980. The former worship space was remodeled into two sections. Most of the space became the Mahon Center, which seats up to 400 for banquets and other events. The remainder of the "temporary" church was retained as a chapel and is used for small weddings, funerals and daily Masses. Today, our parish population includes over 1,200 households, or nearly 3,000 total parishioners.
It is through our baptism that we are called to share our God-given gifts. We are indeed blessed and have much to be thankful for over our 156 year history. We are grateful for the ongoing support and sharing of gifts that St. Patrick's parishioners continue demonstrating through prayer, participation, and financial contributions. Take a moment to review the ministries we offer. We extend an invitation for you to prayerfully consider ways you can become more engaged. Each of us has been given a unique set of gifts that together make us stronger in Christ and as a faith-filled community.