Mt. Adams Steps

The Pilgrimages to the “Church of the Steps”
at Holy Cross Immaculata Church
of Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams Neighborhood

The famous steps of Mt. Adams have a powerful lure for locals and internationally. What started as a Catholic tradition now includes the faithful the world over. Praying the steps for Easter is now a year-round practice for many. Take a step, put a new bead of the Rosary between your finger and thumb, and repeat. Or say your own set of prayers, adding a new one for each new step. Some just come to meditate on each step as they take an inward journey of their own. Eighty-five prayers later is the summit of the steep climb and the base of the Roman Catholic Immaculata Church, its steeple stretching skyward. Turn around, and a sprawling heavenly view reveals the skyline and majestic river of the “Queen City” – Cincinnati – in an eye-popping panoramic scene from high above.

A lady from Seattle was in town taking care of a friend’s dog while they traveled. She stopped to chat and offered insight into some of her favorite overlooks and other breathtaking views that Mt. Adams provides. She beamed a smile as if she were the city’s unofficial ambassador, even if for a short time.

Mt. Adams Steps at Holy Cross Immaculata Church have been a celebrated place of worship for more than 160 years. Since 1860, it has been the site of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, where the devout say prayers on each step to the summit. The “Church of the Steps” was built in 1859. The church and steps are near the corner of Pavilion Street and Guido Street. Click here to map your way to 30 Guido St. in Cincinnati’s Mt. Adams.

At the top of the steps, against the church, a plaque reveals the history: The “Church of the Steps” (Immaculata), built in 1859, was constructed from stone quarried from the slopes of Mt. Adams. Early it was known as the “Archbishop’s Church” in honor of Archbishop Purcell (1800 – 1883), who donated the land and supervised construction. It was conceived as a votive offering for his safety at sea during one of his many journeys to Europe. Since 1860, it has been the site of the annual Good Friday Pilgrimage, where the devout say prayers on each step to the summit. Originally the parish served the German-speaking Catholics of Mt. Adams. In 1970 it was consolidated with nearby Holy Cross Parish and is now known as Holy Cross Immaculata Church.

By Frank Rocco Satullo, The OhioTraveler, Your Tour Guide to Fun

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