Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church — Gary, West Virginia


As you turn the curve and enter the town of Gary West Virginia from State Route 103 you will notice that the great majority of the “town” that remains is across a bridge on the other side of the Tug Fork River opposite of the main highway.  The most prominent and arguably the most beautiful of these buildings is the Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church building which sits proudly on a hill in a mostly residential neighborhood.

What is interesting to me and will probably be interesting to many people from my immediate area is that Gary was a sister city to Lynch Kentucky in the fact that it was a company town, a very large company town built by US Steel.  Many say that Lynch was the largest coal town in the world at one time.  That point is often argued that Gary had it beat.

Due to the fact that many immigrants and migrants came to the area to work for US Steel in the coal mines there and eventually settled there is a diverse population.  I read that in the 1915 there were an equal number of white and blacks living in the city of Gary.  Where else in central appalachia could you find that?  Naturally this diverse population lead to a diverse offering of churches.  At one time Gary was home to more than 20 churches, 10 company stores, independent retailers, restaurants, tennis courts and even a bowling alley.

Slowly over time US Steel sold off the town and in 1971 US Steel oversaw Gary being incorporated into a town.     In 1982 after US Steel completely pulled out of the town of Gary and shuttered their operations the unemployment rate in the town of Gary rose to 90%.

As of the 2010 census Gary has a population of 983 and the population is still quite diverse for the area with 70% white and 27% black.  The schools here have closed as have most businesses including many churches.  But Our lady of Victory is still going strong…..107 years later.


5 thoughts on “Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church — Gary, West Virginia”

  1. Beautiful church. Went there as a child and my relatives still attend. I moved many years ago. Do they still sell the cookbooks from church specifically OLV Cooking with Friends. Appreciate any info. Would so love to have one of those cookbooks.

  2. My husband was raised in Our Lady of Victory,where his parents were members, we were members as a young couple with our four children who also attended. I taught catechism to a great group of kids and have a lot of wonderful memories of Gary and Thorpe, where we lived. It was a wonderful place to raise a family.

  3. My husband s Aunt & Uncle went to church there for years there funeral s were there . There names were George & Julia Yurkovich he past away in the year of 67 she past in 71 from the time thay were married in 1921 till there death thay went to church there.

  4. That church should be a historical landmark. When you rounded that church, you knew you were home. Home in Gary.

  5. Our Lady of Victory will be holding a final celebration on Saturday, 25 November, 2017 — mass at 4pm, with coffee and dessert following.
    For over 100 years, the church has welcomed its parishioners. Even though we won’t be there, the echos of whispered prayers will fall from the rafters like rain and the gentle voices of the choir always be in the air.
    We will leave our meager mark here, for all time. Come, lift your voices on last time, for we ARE here now.
    Please bring any pictures of events at OLV that you would like to share with everyone

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s