St. Anne’s Catholic Church, an iconic building in Eastwood Heights, nick named Dog Patch, neighbors the St. Anne’s Park, where a free community picnic is being held Saturday, June 22nd from 1 to 4 pm. This neighborhood, located at the extreme eastern edge of the East Side, has been the subject of a Dog Patch Memory Project, conducted by the El Pueblo History Museum that gathered old photographs and documents to help tell the story of this small, unique neighborhood.
According to a research project called, “A Place Set Apart: The History and Architecture of Pueblo’s East Side Neighborhood,” the development of Eastwood Heights Subdivision was spurred by post-WWII prosperity, and most of the development of the Eastwood Heights Subdivision took place from the 1950s through 1970s, after other parts of Pueblo.
St. Anne’s Church began as one of several mission chapels built in the 1950s by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Pueblo, who wanted mission chapels in “outlying areas” of the city. Being about as outlying as any neighborhood could be, the Diocese of Pueblo purchased an entire city block in Eastwood Heights from the U.S. Army, where they had barracks during the war.
The new church congregation was established as a mission of the East Side’s St. Leander’s Church, with its first Mass held on May 13, 1956. According to the St. Anne’s Church website, “the building itself was a former Army chapel originally located on a World War II era base east of Pueblo on land that was at the time being transformed into what is now Pueblo Memorial Airport. The structure was mounted on rollers and moved across the prairie to its current location.”
St. Anne’s Church dropped the mission title in 1961, becoming its own parish.
In the 1960s, residents of Eastwood met with various local, state, and federal officials to discuss the need for a community center and park in their neighborhood. The City of Pueblo decided to lease land adjacent to St. Anne’s Church for use as a park, renting it for just $1 per year from the church that agreed to the need. This arrangement continues today, with the City providing maintenance for the park. St. Anne’s Park sits on just over three acres and features a baseball field, gazebos/shelters, a horse shoe pit and playground and restrooms.
Some view the Eastside Heights nickname of “Dog Patch” as derogatory, but others use it fondly. A Place Set Apart: The History and Architecture of Pueblo’s East Side Neighborhood, says ” The name, originally attributed to a geographic area in Al Capp’s Lil’ Abner comic strip, came to personify Eastwood because the community was for decades devoid of city services and affluence.
Eastwood (often looked upon with prejudice by those living in other parts of town) lacked paved streets and city sewer services until the mid 1970s, leaving area residents to travel streets in disrepair and some still resorting to outhouses. Many Puebloans still refer to this neighborhood as Dogpatch today.”
Dog Patch, an often segregated and ignored part of Pueblo, is said to have a special type of neighborhood pride, which will be evidenced at a El Pueblo Museum collection of it’s rich history and character and at the free summer community picnic.
St. Anne’s Church is located at 2701 East 12th Street, Pueblo, CO 81001.
Photo by Steve Eiler, Drone Photography
Photo of the church by Steve Eller Drone Photography, map of Dog Patch.
Story by Jenny Paulson / Pueblo Independent