St. Joseph
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Saint Joseph's Catholic Church
5899 County Road 669, south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Maple City - Leelanau County
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION/religious facility
Current Use RELIGION/religious facility
Style Other
Significant Person Ignatius Mrak
Narrative Description The St. Joseph Catholic Church, built in 1884, is a rectangular, wood frame, vernacular-style building with the entry in the west and altar at the east, following the traditional Christian church orientation. The structure rests on a concrete block foundation. Clapboard siding with cornerboards covers the facades; the roof is covered in standing-seam metal. A three-part tower is centered on the windowless west gable. The tower was added in 1899. The lowest block has a front-gable form and contains the narthex. Above the door in the gable is a small lozenge-shaped window. A sawtooth-cut, vertical-board frieze band runs beneath the eaves. The middle section contains an oculus window and another sawtooth, vertical-board frieze band. The uppermost section is the belfry and has a rectangular, louvered opening on each. A high pyramid roof with a wood cross at its peak caps the belfry. Located at the church's east end is a polygonal apse set under the main gable roof. Projecting from the back of the north and south sides are small, gable-roof additions whose axes are perpendicular to the church's main axis. Both were constructed in the 1940s.
Statement of Significance St. Joseph's was constructed in 1884 by Bohemian settlers in Cleveland Township, Leelanau County and is significant as the only church associated with a Bohemian community known as the Bohemian Settlement. Additionally, it is one of only a few surviving Catholic mission churches associated with Father Ignatius Mrak, an early Catholic missionary. Finally, the church was and still is the only church building in the relatively unpopulated, rural township. St. Joseph served its Bohemian Catholic congregation until 1970 when the parish was merged with a neighboring one and regular services in this building discontinued.
Period of Significance 1884-1941
Significant Date(s) 1884
Registry Type(s) 01/22/1992 National Register listed
Site ID# P23856