Catholicism was first introduced to this region in 1540 by the priests who accompanied Hernando DeSoto. The French Napoleonic exiles of the Vine and Olive Colony held religious services and attempted to establish a Catholic mission in Demopolis in 1817. Services were held in homes and in a small frame structure until the current building was constructed in 1905. The brick Gothic Revival style church was designed by Architect J.A. Gaboury of Birmingham, Alabama. The church remained a mission church until the St. Leo’s Parish was permanently established in 1936.
This church is located at the intersection of West Perry Street and South Main Street in Demopolis (GPS coordinates 32.513480, -87.838585).
Source: “St. Leo’s Catholic Church” Historical Marker.
Photographs courtesy of RuralSWAlabama.