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St. Paul the Apostle Church (St. Joseph Church)

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St. Joseph Church
1902–1908, Shand and Eastman; 1905–1909 interior, Paul H. Macneil. 301 8th St.
  • (Photograph by Roger Funk)

Rising authoritatively over the village like a cathedral of medieval Europe, St. Paul the Apostle Church is the premier ethnic church of Calumet. The parish began to serve the Catholic members of Calumet's Austrian or Slovenian population, first in a large broach-spired wooden church that burned in 1902 about twenty years after it was built on two lots donated by the mining company, and later in this extravagant twin-spired and towered red sandstone Richardsonian Romanesque church.

The St. Joseph Society, a Slovenian organization, organized in Calumet in 1882. Like other foreign-born populations and their descendents in this mining community, the Slovenian parishioners needed their own church with a priest who could speak their language. Early in 1903 a building committee for the new St. Joseph's Church was appointed and Shand and Eastman were selected to prepare plans. The cornerstone was laid on August 18, 1903, and the basement became useable for services in 1904, but the church remained under construction until 1908. Decoration of the nave and chancel took the last three years. Stonemason Paul Roehm of Laurium laid the walls of rusticated red sandstone quarried at Jacobsville. Macneil (1883–1964) designed and supervised all interior work.

Ford Brothers Glass Studio of Minneapolis installed the stained glass windows in 1906. The largest depicts St. Joseph and the Christ child flanked by Sts. Cyril and Methodius. Others show Italian, French, and Yugoslavian saints, patrons of miners, laborers, blacksmiths, stonemasons, and the poor. A tracker organ encased in oak built by Kilgen and Sons of St. Louis, Missouri, was installed.

The beauty and large size of this church determined its survival in 1966, when the decreasing population and revenues necessitated the consolidation of the churches of St. Mary's (Italian), Ste. Anne's (French), St. John (Croatian), and St. Joseph (Slovenian). St. Joseph Church was selected to remain open and was renamed St. Paul the Apostle Church. A large foursquare brick rectory, built in 1928, stands to the north of the church.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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