About Our Parish

Remembering Our Past

(The following information was taken from research done by Bernice Pluchoes in 1997 and from notes of Nora Self and parish directories)

                                  

 

 

Our first church was built in 1881 and was considered a mission church of St. James Parish. It was a frame building built just south of Lacamas Lake.  A cemetery was started in the back. There was a woodburner stove in the church and whoever got there first would go out and cut the first tree that was closest to it for fuel. During the winter when roads were rutted and washed out, our early settlers often had to go on foot or horseback to attend the monthly Mass.

 

 

 

In 1901-02 the second church in the Camas area was built on 14th and Birch Street.  Much of the construction was done by parishioners and cost $600.  The church and parish were given the name of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Around 1900 a little church was built in Washougal 1/4 mile from present day Evergreen Way and Sunset View Road. St. Anthony's had Mass once a month was was in use until the 1940s.

 

The Holy Cross cemetery attached to that church is still administered by our parish and has recently undergone some major improvements.

 

Meanwhile, wind and weather took a toll on the small church on 14th and Birch street in Camas and now it twas time to build a new church.  Our new church was dedicated in April 1950 at a cost of $130,000.  During this time, the Stevenson church, Star Of The Sea, was attached to the Camas parish as a mission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Aquinas Center was constructed in 1962.  It was the home of the Montessori School and Christian Education classes. The Fireside Room was available for receptions and parties.  The AC also housed the parish library and office.

 

 

 

 

During this time, too, with Vatican II guidelines to follow, new directions for church architecture were implemented. The altar was brought forward, the English Mass was begun and new stained-glass memorial winders designed in France were installed. 

 

 

 

 

The church was again remodeled around 2006, adding marble fixtures and tapestries.


The adoration chapel was recently undergone some refurbishing and the Fireside Room will get a facelift in the near future.

 

We have had many dedicated priests serve our community. A lovely banner is hanging just outside the sacristy listed the priests through our history and was created by Fran Hewitt.