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St. Joseph Church (Eglise St. Joseph)

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Eglise St. Joseph
1901, C. Archibald Pearce; 1912 modification, Charlton and Kuenzli; A. F. Wasielewski, builder. 701 Calumet St.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

French Canadian Catholics built the Eglise St. Joseph of alternating courses of rough and smooth-cut Portage Entry red sandstone blocks. Construction of a single-towered “Byzantine Romanesque” church planned by Pearce to face east like the previous wood-frame building was begun in 1901, but, because of internal dissension and lack of funds, only the lower level was completed and furnished in 1901. In 1912 work was completed on a rendition by Charlton and Kuenzli. This design modified the earlier plan, moving the main entrance from the east on Front Street to face west on Calumet Street, which had been designated the main street. The gabled front facade incorporates a columned porch and twin towers. The mixture of Romanesque, Gothic, and Byzantine forms gives it what architectural historian Alan Gowans has called a “churchy” effect reminiscent of a Quebec church. The rich and ornate barrel-vaulted basilica has a nave with side aisles. An organ loft is over the narthex. There are two altars, one on top of the other. The memorial dedications on the stained glass windows recall the French Canadian origins of the church's members. This church's interior is the most intact of the large churches remaining in the Copper Country.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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