|Port Washington was
known in its early colonial days as "Cow Neck Peninsula" and later as
"Cow Bay Village". In the mid-nineteenth century, resident Catholics
traveled to Flushing to attend Mass.
...In 1871, St. Mary's of Roslyn was established giving Port Washington
Catholics another church to attend. The pastor of St. Mary's would come
to Port Washington twice a year, at Christmas and Easter to administer
the Sacraments. In 1886 Father Nicholas Doran became pastor of St.
Mary's. He came to Port and celebrated Mass at the home of Mr. and Mrs.
Thomas Fay on Pleasant Avenue.
...In the 1890's Port Washington had about 800 inhabitants, with fewer
than 100 Catholics. Mass was often celebrated in Liberty Hall on
Carlton Avenue. In 1897 St. Peter's became a mission of St. Mary's in
Roslyn. In 1898 a small chapel was built in Port Washington on Sandy
Hollow Road .
...In 1900, Bishop McDonald of Brooklyn, convinced the Catholics in the
area could support a parish of their own, instituted the Parish of St.
Peter of Alcantra.
...In July 1901, Fr. Patrick Cherry became the first pastor.
Cockran, a wealthy Irish born attorney and U. S. Representative donated
the present site and $50,000 toward building the church on one
condition, as legend has it. He wanted the church to be a replica of
the castle he could see from his boyhood home in Ireland.
...The parish was
incorporated on March 14, 1902. The name, St. Peter of Alcantara, was
chosen to honor a benefactor, Peter C. Gallagher. St. Peter's feast day
was the closest feast to his birthday.
School opened in 1925 with 70 pupils under instruction of the Sisters,
Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary from Scranton Pennsylvania who
continue to serve the school and parish. The school and convent was
housed in a newly acquired adjacent property, Kennelworth. On February
22, 1930 ground was broken for a new school. The building was completed
so rapidly that graduation exercises were able to be held in the new
auditorium on June 26, 1931.
building was razed and a new convent was completed in November 1957.
...To meet growing
demands, additional space was needed. A new school and auxiliary church
building was constructed which had 16 classrooms and a church with a
capacity of 700 persons. The building was dedicated November 29,1964.
...The shrine to Our
Lady was donated in 1939 by Mrs. Peter C Gallagher. On May 31, 1942 it
was dedicated as a World War II Memorial to those in the parish who had
given their lives in the service of their country.