St. Mary of the Lake was established in 1901, at a time when only six Catholic families lived in the Buena Park area. Construction on the current church building, designed by noted ecclesiastical architect Henry J. Schlacks in the Italian Renaissance style, began in 1913. The church was dedicated by Archbishop Mundelein in 1917, but work continued for years on the lavish interior containing Carrara marble sculpted in Italy, stained-glass made in Germany and a ceiling painted in gilded gold. St. Mary of the Lake has operated a food pantry since the 1970s and now hosts services in both English and Spanish. The parish Art & Architecture Committee works to showcase the historic building and keep it in good repair.