St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church has a rich history of more than 160 years. It began in 1851 when the first generation of parishioners raised funds for the construction of a new church at the corner of Meigs Avenue and Maple Streets in Jeffersonville. By 1860 St. Anthony Parish opened its first school. In 1874 a building committee was organized to plan for the construction of a new church and in May of 1876 they laid the cornerstone. By 1878 the congregation moved into its new church at Maple and Wall Streets.
St. Anthony then faced the first of several disasters to its facilities - a flood - in 1883 After completing repairs, flood disaster struck again the very next year. Then Great Flood of 1937 resulted in major damage to all of the parish’s buildings, particularly to the church where the flood crested at 16 feet. The flood water so damaged the school that it had to be closed. By 1940 the school reopened.
The year of 1949 was a significant year in the history of St. Anthony. Clarksville was beginning to develop and this trend was observed by Father Mathias who purchased 7 acres to develop an entirely new parish campus - the campus we enjoy today. Construction of the school, church and convent began in April at a cost of $200,000. By the fall of 1949 the school had opened and a short time later the church and convent were completed. An old farm house on the property was used as a friary.
With our move from Jeffersonville fire replaced flooding as our nemesis. In 1954 the convent suffered extensive fire damage but not one was hurt. Then in May of 1970 disaster struck St. Anthony again. A lightning bolt hit the church engulfing it in flames. The parish decided to construct a separate church building and to renovate the former church into an activity center within the renovated school. By the fall of 1970 the school reopened. The new church was formally dedicated in 1972.
In 1999 St. Anthony began the first of 2 major fund drives that totaled in excess of $ 1.95 Million. By 2003 St. Anthony Parish had used these funds to construct a one story addition to the school office, expansion of the library and the addition of a computer lab. The school also received new windows and air-conditioning. In addition this campaign funded the construction of the Social Hall, kitchen and gymnasium that adjoins the church.
During our 160+ year of history St. Anthony parishioners have always risen to the occasion - whether it was due to flood, fire, required maintenance or simply to grow – to serve our Mission.