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St. Joseph's Catholic Church

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1922–1923, Donaldson and Meier. 1317 7th St.
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

In 1889 the Most Reverend John S. Foley, bishop of the Diocese of Detroit, denied the request of the German Catholic St. Joseph's Society, which had formed the previous year, to establish a distinctly German parish, but permitted the founding of a new Catholic church without ethnic restriction. The present St. Joseph's Catholic Church replaced the church that was erected for the congregation in 1890. The new church was designed by Donaldson and Meier, a Detroit firm responsible for many Catholic churches, including Holy Redeemer at 1721 Junction in Detroit, which was built at the same time and in the same style but is much larger. The Romanesque Revival St. Joseph's Church is fronted with a richly textured and patterned gabled front. Twin square towers with open belfries, balconets, and octagonal tiled roofs flank a recessed, arcaded entrance. Six polygonal-shafted columns with floriated Romanesque capitals and decorated bases support the recessed entrance porch. A rose window set within rectangular panels of decorative brickwork is over the entrance, and there are rose windows in the transepts as well. Dark red brick laid in English bond and trimmed with limestone is resplendent with corbeling and checkerwork inlaid with relief sculptures. This is punctuated by Pewabic tiles molded with various cross motifs and fired with iridescent glazes in blues, greens, and golds in the panel over the east portal. The Latin cross–plan church has a nave with side aisles and a barrel-vaulted ceiling.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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