Following the death of Father Hack, Rev. Lawrence Piotrzkowski O.S.B. was appointed Sixth Pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, taking up his duties on April 19, 1951.
It was during his time as pastor that Interstate-5 was punched through the heart of the parish.
The first segment of I-5 formally opened in Tacoma in December of 1960. The map below is a planning map presented to the parish in 1959, showing the route of the interstate through the old Germantown neighborhood.
Dozens of houses and apartments were bulldozed, streets were rerouted, and a great chasm was dug through the middle of what remained of the neighborhood. Once the anchor of the Germantown neighborhood, Holy Rosary Church was now perched on a narrow spit of land between two gulches. Over the course of the next few years, the parish population plummeted.
On April 29, 1965 at 8:29 am a magnitude 6.7 earthquake struck Tacoma, just at the close of morning Mass, causing the cross to topple 200 feet from the steeple to the ground. Miraculously, no-one was hurt.
Just seven weeks later, on June 14, 1965, Father Piotrzkowski died. A Solemn Requiem Mass was sung at Holy Rosary by Rev. James Piotrzkowski O.S.B., Father Lawrence’s brother, with the Most Rev. Thomas Connolly, Archbishop of Seattle, in attendance.