Saints Peter and Paul Church, Detroit, Michigan
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Saints Peter and Paul Church, Detroit, Michigan
Saints Peter and Paul Church
Saints Peter and Paul Church Detroit MI.jpg
Church in 2008
Location629 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates42°19?55?N 83°2?18?W / 42.33194°N 83.03833°W / 42.33194; -83.03833Coordinates: 42°19?55?N 83°2?18?W / 42.33194°N 83.03833°W / 42.33194; -83.03833
ArchitectFrancis Letouneau, Peter Kindenkins
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
NRHP reference No.71000431[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPSeptember 03, 1971
Designated MSHSJanuary 22, 1971[2]

Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church is a Roman Catholic church located at 629 East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. It is the oldest existing church in the city of Detroit,[2] and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1971.[1][2]


In 1844, Bishop Peter Paul Lefevere, who served as coadjutor bishop of the Diocese of Detroit, began construction on Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral; the cornerstone is dated June 29, 1844.[3] Francis Letourneau drew the plans and Peter Kindenkens supervised the construction.[2] Construction was completed over four years, as the bishop paid for each stage of construction with cash.[4] The church was consecrated on June 29, 1848 as the cathedral church of the diocese. /> The original parishioners were predominantly Irish, with some French families attending.[4]

Following Lefevere's death, under Caspar Borgess, the second Bishop of Detroit, the church remained the cathedral until 1877,[5] when he gave the title to the building to the Jesuit Order with the intention of starting Detroit's first Catholic college. The church then became SS. Peter & Paul Jesuit Church.[3] The Jesuit college eventually became the University of Detroit-Mercy, and UDM's law school still occupies the building adjacent to the church.[3]

The church was altered in 1879 and 1882, completely renovated in 1892,[2] and remodeled again in 1911.[6] A chapel was added to the rear of the building in 1918.[6] Although these alterations changed the look of the church, the original plan has been substantially preserved.[2] The church is still in use, offering Sunday and some weekday masses.[3]


Saints Peter and Paul Church is a three-aisled church, built of Detroit common brick.[2] The front façade is gabled and topped by a short square belfry.[2] The tower was originally intended to support a tall spire, which was never built.[4] There is a central entrance pavilion, set between arched windows and Ionic pilasters.[2] The pilasters continue along the side, separating the side elevation into seven bays with tall, rounded arch windows.[2] A heavy frieze surmounts the walls.[6]

The interior of the church features hand-carved oak confessionals, a barrel vaulted ceiling painted with murals of the apostles,[4] and an extraordinary Carrara marble altar designed by Gustav Adolph Mueller and featuring a bas relief of the crucifixion by Joseph Sibbel.[5] These details were added during later renovations; the organ case is the only surviving original element.[6]


See also


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Saints Peter and Paul Church". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. January 22, 1971. Archived from the original on 2013-10-16. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c d "History". Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b c d "Saints Peter and Paul Church" (PDF). City of Detroit Planning and Development Department. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-16. Retrieved .
  5. ^ a b "Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church". December 2012. Retrieved .
  6. ^ a b c d Hill, Eric J.; Gallagher, John; American Institute of Architects Detroit Chapter (2002). AIA Detroit. Wayne State University Press. p. 30. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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