1839 Bishop Rosati of St. Louis appointed Rev. George Hamilton to serve as the first resident priest for the mission of Springfield (there were fifteen stations in his mission all lying from 20-60 miles from Springfield). Rev. Hamilton attempted to build a church, but was unsuccessful and Mass was held in private homes.
1848 A small frame church, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, was built on Adams Street between Eighth and Ninth Streets.
1856 The membership of St. John’s Parish in 1856 counted about three hundred and eighty families and the little frame church had become inadequate to accommodate the large attendance. Father Quigley therefore bought the half block on Monroe Street and began excavating for a new church that would accommodate all the English speaking members of the parish. The German-speaking members retained the old frame church for which they paid $1800.00.
1859 The English-speaking church, placed under the patronage of the Immaculate Conception (now known as Old St. Mary’s), was dedicated on March 20th.
1860 A school opened for the boys of the parish. The school house was a small, one story frame building, built in the space just north of the church and was placed under the charge of the Holy Cross Brothers from Notre Dame, Indiana. The school was built in the shape of a “T” and stood back in the yard about forty feet from Seventh Street. The south end of the front room was partitioned off and served as the sleeping quarters for the Brothers. They took their meals in the parish rectory and at the Old Jefferson House on the southeast corner of Seventh and Washington Streets. The younger children did their lessons in the back room while the higher grades were taught in the front room facing Seventh Street.
1860s The congregation had grown to the extent that an addition was added to the church. The front was extended twenty feet, the floor lowered three feet and a gallery was set back over the entrance.