Saint Patrick's Parish Complex
Northfield Church and Whitmore Lake roads, Ann Arbor vicinity - Washtenaw County
Property Type religious complex
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Gothic
Architect/Builder unknown
Narrative Description The St. Patrick's Parish complex consists of a church, rectory, and cemetery sited on a five-and-one-half-acre site. St. Patrick's Church, the central element of the complex is a fine Gothic structure with walls of red brick standing on a foundation of rough-hewn stone blocks. The entrance facade is symmetrical and dominated by a partly projecting, square-plan tower crowned by a lofty, cross-tipped octagonal spire. The tower includes the ground-level gabled and spired entrance and a tall lancet window. Other architectural details including wrought brick arcaded corbelling, terminal spires, and lancet windows decorate the otherwise simple building. The rectory is a two-sotry, five-bay, center-entrance, brick structure with segmental-arch-head windows.
Statement of Significance Founded in 1831, St. Patrick's of Northfield is significant as the first parish established in Michigan for English-speaking Catholics. Occupying the original property purchased in 1831 to accommodate the church building, the present church parish complex -- comprising St. Patrick's Church (1875 to 1878), rectory (1889 to 1890 and 1917) and cemetery -- is significant by virtue of its associations with the early history of the Catholic Church and of Irish immigration in southeastern Michigan and on account of the architectural importance of the lofty-spired, red-brick, Gothic-style St. Patrick's Church.
Marker Name St. Patrick's Church
Marker Text ST. PATRICK'S CHURCH Catholicism in Northfield Township dates from the early nineteenth century. In 1829, Father Patrick O'Kelly, a native of Kilkenny, Ireland, was sent to the area to minister to the Irish Catholics who were settling in southwestern Michigan. The first parish church, a log structure, was completed on this site in 1831. Originally named St. Brigid, this is the oldest English-speaking Catholic parish in the state. The present Gothic Revival-style church was completed and dedicated in 1878. The parish was renamed St. Patrick's at that time. The rectory was completed in 1890. In 1917 the church and rectory were badly damaged by a cyclone; however, both were rebuilt in subsequent years. Serving the area for 150 years, the parish continues to reach out to the needs of the surrounding community.
Period of Significance 1826-1865
Significant Date(s) 1831, 1878, 1890, 1835
Registry Type(s) 01/07/1982 Marker erected
04/23/1982 National Register listed
12/14/1976 State Register listed
Site ID# P24974