St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church

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St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church is a church located at the corner of Baldwin Avenue and St. Paul Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. The church address is 1515 Baldwin Street; ancillary buildings are located at 1491 Baldwin Street (Rectory) and 1480 Townsend Street (School Building). The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.

History

In the late 1850s, Belgian Catholics immigrated to Detroit and settled in the eastside neighborhoods near Gratiot and Baldwin. In 1886, a parish dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo was established to minister to this congregation. A wood-frame church was constructed for the parish, and quickly expanded. As Detroit grew, the parish grew along with it, with French, German, Irish, Scotch, and English immigrant congregants in addition to the original Belgians. By 1920, the congregation numbered over 3000. By the 1930s, the school's population also included many Catholic children of Syrian and Italian immigrants.

In 1912, the two-story rectory and school was designed and built by Van Leyen & Schilling. In 1918, Peter Dederichs was awarded a contract to build an "edifice of Romanesque style for religious use." Just four years after the church was completed, it was expanded to meet the needs of the growing congregation.

The church is still used today, although the congregation has altered. The rectory serves its original function, and the school is leased by the Church of Messiah.

Description

The St. Charles Borromeo parish complex consists of four buildings, three of which are historically significant: the church itself, the rectory, and the school.

The church is built with red-brown tapestry brick on a white Bedford stone foundation, with trim of the same stone. The church is built in a Latin Cross plan, 92 feet across and 180 feet in depth. The design is Romanesque with Arts and Crafts elements. The front facade is flanked by asymmetric towers with red tiled hip-roofs. The entranceway is within a two-story arched structure with columns on each side, above which is a large rose window. Rosettes are in the spandrels above the entrance arches, and green tile fills the spandrels and pediments of the front and side facades. The decorative brick pilasters around the central arch are derived from Prairie School or Arts and Crafts models.

The main altar is Baroque in style. The organ was built in two sections to clear the rose window above the main entrance.

The school and rectory were designed in the Prairie style with some Byzantine elements.