View looking down First Street in the early 1900’s. St Michael’s gothic style church is the tallest structure, seen top left, near where Sunrise Mountain Sports building is today.
At the far left is the first St Michael church, built in 1872. It served the parish until 1891 when the new gothic style church was built, seen to the right.
The church caught fire in August 1916. Firefighters stood helpless, as their hoses could not reach the towering spire. In minutes, the church was gone.
After the tragic loss of the gothic style church in 1916, the parish community celebrated Mass in the tiny old church that was built in 1872. The insurance on the gothic church only covered $10,000. As seen in the hand-written cost estimate sent to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, a new church would approach $64,000.
Fr Donald J. McKinnon
Originally from Prince Edward Island, Canada, Fr McKinnon was educated in the United States: Santa Clara University, St Mary’s Seminary and Catholic University in Washington D.C. His first assignment in the Archdiocese of San Francisco was St Catherine in Morgan Hill. He became pastor at St Michael in March of 1915.
The world wide influenza pandemic ravaged every corner of every country in 1918, and Livermore was no exception. Schools closed. People were mandated to wear masks for months.
Fr McKinnon visited every ill parishioner, bringing them food, medicine and the Blessed Sacrament. He even drove to ranches 15 miles out of town each day where often entire families lay sick. Some attributed Fr McKinnon's rapidly deteriorating health to his untiring efforts during this time. He died at age 45 in August 1920 and is buried at St Michael Cemetery on East Avenue.
Oakland Civic Auditorium was converted to a hospital in response to the spread of the flu in 1918. Photo Credit: Oakland Public Library
Friday, September 28—Sunday, September 30
Celebrate Mass with Bishop Michael Barber on Friday at 6 pm
Enjoy Food, Entertainment and Fun at the Fall Festival Saturday and Sunday