Immaculate Conception Church, photo c. 1990
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Immaculate Conception Church
500 East Blaine Street, Iron Mountain - Dickinson County
Other Names Mary Immaculate of Lourdes
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION/religious facility
Current Use RELIGION/religious facility
Style Italian Renaissance
Late Victorian
Architect/Builder FATHER GIOVANNI PIETRO SINOPOLI
Narrative Description Immaculate Conception Church is a simple, rectangular plan church with a central nave and two small gable-roofed chapel spaces projecting each sides. The exterior walls are constructed of random, coursed, rusticated ashlar sandstone masonry and articulated with elements of buff-colored brick. The nave is lighted by stained glass windows set in arched frames detailed with red brick. In the central portion of the front facade pilasters and a dentilated cornice frame blind arches which flank the central entry doors. The lower side bays with doorways are joined to the higher center portion with curved walls reminiscent of the more elaborate volutes of Renaissance Italy which mask the gable end of the roof behind. Two small niches hold statues of saints. The rear portion of the church is two-storied with a hipped roof and numerous, small, regularly placed windows. At the center of the rear wall an octagonal campanile is attached and topped by a large, brick belfry with arcaded openings.
Statement of Significance Immaculate Conception Church is the physical embodiment of the character of the Italian immigrants who came in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to work in the mines of Iron Mountain in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and a significant example of vernacular European immigrant buildings in America. The Italian Catholic community in Iron Mountain maintained a distinct identity, which was complimented by the appointment of an Italian priest in 1889 to form an Italian Catholic parish in Iron Mountain first called Holy Rosary. The arrival of Fr. Giovanni Pietro Sinopoli dei Giunta in 1902 provided the catalyst for the erection of a distinctly Italian structure to house the congregation. Designed by Fr. Sinopoli, Immaculate Conception Church was constructed with volunteer labor and completed in 1903. It continues to be used for Catholic services.
Marker Name Mary Immaculate of Lourdes Church
Marker Text MARIA SANTISSIMA IMMACOLATA In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Italian immigrants came to Iron Mountain to work in the iron mines. In 1890, Italian Catholics from the community's north side organized what was popularly known as "the Italian Church." That year they built a frame church near this site. The church burned in 1893 and was rebuilt. In April 1902, Father G. Pietro Sinopoli arrived here. Within two months he formed a church building committee. Four thousand dollars was raised and in June Father Sinopoli began excavating the foundation. The church was completed in December and dedicated to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes on January 1, 1903. MARY IMMACULATE OF LOURDES CHURCH This church reflects the heritage and building techniques of the Italian immigrants who erected it. The church, with its bell tower fashioned after a campanile, is strikingly reminiscent of Renaissance parish churches in Italy. Father G. Pietro Sinopoli, the parish priest, is thought to have designed the build-ing. Masons and volunteers hauled sandstone from a quarry one mile south of here to build the exterior walls. The Menominee Stained Glass Works created at least three of the windows, including the choir loft window designed by Father Sinopoli. The church was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1903
Registry Type(s) 08/29/1990 Marker erected
04/05/1990 National Register listed
06/15/1979 State Register listed
Site ID# P22945