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St. Joseph and St. Patrick Church and William Bonifas Fine Arts Center (St. Joseph's Church, Memorial Building, and Auditorium)

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St. Joseph's Church, Memorial Building, and Auditorium
1937–1939, Foeller, Shoeber and Berners. 709 and 700 S. 1st Ave.
  • (Photograph by Roger Funk)
  • (Photograph by Roger Funk)

Gifts from lumberman William Bonifas (1865–1936) and his wife, Catherine (1868–1948), financed in large part the construction of St. Joseph's Church and the combination auditorium and gymnasium that is now the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center. The Green Bay, Wisconsin, architects designed the buildings in Romanesque Revival. The buttressed exterior walls of the buildings are pale yellowish-brown stone from Kasota, Minnesota. A campanile rises in the angle at the crossing of the church's nave and the east transept. A rose window pierces the north wall above the triple-arched recessed entrance that is supported by Romanesque columns with foliated capitals. The interior is embellished with black, buff, rose, and salmon marbles, as well as mosaics and stained glass. A tower stands at the intersection of the auditorium/gymnasium. This lavish religious complex that replaced an earlier red and yellow brick Gothic Revival church (1873, Carl F. Struck) is evidence of the importance of Escanaba to the Upper Peninsula. Some call Escanaba Michigan's third capital, after Marquette. In 1997 the Marquette Diocese merged the church with St. Patrick Church.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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