Founded by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701 and later served by Father Gabriel Richard, who was named pastor in 1802, Ste. Anne's parish is the oldest in Detroit and the second-oldest continuously operating Catholic parish in the United States. Only St. Augustine in Florida is older. Visible from the Detroit River, this grandly elaborate, fully developed High Victorian Gothic church was preceded by seven others. Constructed of orangish-red brick on a limestone foundation, the cruciform-plan church has flying buttresses, twin pinnacled towers terminating in octagonal drums with spires, and a large rose window marking the main portico. Moving from the narthex into the nave, visitors are struck by the splendid stained glass windows of the apse and by the ornate altar. In 1888 Frederichs and Staffin created the five lancet stained glass windows for the chancel area of the church. They depict Ste. Anne with the Virgin Mary and four patron saints of France: Sts. Eloi, Remi, Martin, and Denis. The painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe on the north side altar is the only artistic concession to the church's current largely Latino congregation. A Gothic arcade with clustered columns separates the nave and side aisles, and the side-wall windows depict saints and memorialize French-speaking families. Albert E. French (d. 1929) and Leon Coquard of Detroit designed the church and the rectory, and Patrick Dee built them. When Ste. Anne's Church was dedicated, the Michigan Catholic (November 13, 1887) called it “one of the grandest Christian temples in the West and . . . the grandest Catholic church within the State of Michigan.” A school, a convent, and a parish hall, dating from 1887 to the 1900s, are part of the complex.
Today the church anchors revitalization in Hubbard-Richard Neighborhood in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge ( WN45). With offices in Ste. Anne Church, Bagley Housing Association, a subsidiary of Southwest Housing Solutions, has built one hundred new houses, spent millions on renovations for existing houses, and partnered with a developer to launch the seventy-two-unit Ste. Anne's Gate development.