Scattered all over the Mitten are historic churches in Michigan that display beautiful architecture and powerful history.
These historic landmarks proudly serve their communities in both art and worship. With a raging history, some dating back hundreds of years, these churches lay a foundation for Michigan’s religious history.
Must-See Historic Churches in Southeast Michigan
St. Florian Catholic Church
2626 Poland Street, Hamtramck, MI 48212
Founded in 1907 with ground broken in 1908, St. Florian Catholic Church is a statement building in Hamtramck. A new building was constructed in the 1920s after Poland immigrant congregation members somehow found $500,00 pre-Depression dollars.
The new church was dedicated in 1928 and received the American Architect Award in 1929. Taking up a whole city block, the church is eight stories above ground with Gothic Arch architecture. The spires and brickwork are extremely impressive as they surround beautiful stained-glass windows.
St. James Episcopal Chapel
25150 E. River Road, Grosse Ila Township, MI 48138
Founded by a freed slave woman, St. James Episcopal Chapel was constructed in 1867 and stands as a strong historical treasure in Grosse Ile. Lisette Denison willed her life savings to build this Chapel and architect Gordon W. Lloyd built the English-style building to fulfill this woman’s offering, with the help of Denison’s sons.
Construction was completed on the Gothic-style church in 1868 with Tiffany glass windows and carved wooden doors. A new church, one much larger, was constructed in 1958, but the chapel stands as a smaller building for worship in the congregation.
Sainte Anne de Detroit Catholic Church
1000 Sainte Anne Street, Detroit, MI 48216
Founded in July of 1701, this Catholic parish dedicated a tiny, log chapel for their worship.
The present structure was built in 1886, with features of the original chapel, or “Stone Church”, incorporated in the design, including the Beaubien Bell, the statue of Sainte Anne and Mary, and the grisaille windows, which hold the oldest stained glass found in Detroit. This historic treasure of Michigan is a landmark and shrine.
Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church
438 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226
Saints Peter and Paul Jesuit Church was founded by the French in the early 1700s before Americans took control in 1796. In 1844, the cornerstone was laid but the building did not complete construction until four years later. A neo-classic style building, it stands 80 feet by 180 feet.
Ten pillars hold up the church that are tree trunks from the Upper Peninsula. In 1872, Ann Koleny donated the chimes that still exist in the tower of the church, despite never starting construction on a tall spire. Renovations over the years have added artwork and other features, including the painted ceiling displaying St. Paul and some of the other apostles.
St. Josaphat Catholic Church
715 E Canfield St, Detroit, MI 48201
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1985, St. Josaphat was built in 1901 in Victorian Romanesque Revival and Gothic Revival style. The strikingly ornate building features three steeples, including one measuring 200 feet tall.
The interior is also ornate: you’ll find five altars and an extensive collection of murals and gorgeous stained glass windows depicting Mary & Joseph and the twelve apostles.
St John the Evangelist Church
711 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Jackson, MI 49201
St. John the Evangelist Church laid its cornerstone over 165 years ago in 1856. Bishop Peter Paul Lefevre laid this cornerstone after St. John began its mission in 1836 and officially became a parish.
The only church of Catholic denomination in Jackson until 1901, the congregation of St. John’s thrived as families sheltered their faith within this historic site. The edifice was enlarged, and a school was added in the 1870s as more and more members started to join. Nuns came to work as teachers and workers.
Must-See Historic Churches in West Michigan
Cathedral of St. Andrew
215 Sheldon Blvd SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503
In order to accommodate the growing congregation, construction started on this beautiful cathedral in 1875 and finished a year later. The city of Grand Rapids expanded around it until a fire destroyed a large amount of the beautiful building in 1901.
Restoration and expansion took place but original wooden beams still show the charred markings from that disaster. Between 1961 and 2000, many different expansions and renovations occurred to establish a new wing, a gathering area, and a baptismal pool. After these many renovations, the Cathedral of St. Andrew stands tall, proud, and beautiful as a staple piece of Grand Rapids history.
57 E 10th St, Holland, MI 49423
The oldest building in Holland, Pillar Church stands with six iconic pillars to welcome the community. After 130 years of division within the church, Pillar renewed its commitment in 2012.
This building was built in 1856, with a cedar beam in the middle of the six pillars and survived the Holland Fire of 1871. Its Greek revival architecture is beautiful and welcoming as the church now thrives in serving its community.
Park Church in Grand Rapids
10 E Park Pl NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Built in the Gothic Revival style in 1860, this yellow brick church has a buttressed tower that is topped by a unique eight-sided belfry. That’s not the most remarkable thing about the Park Church which was added to the National Historic Registry in 1982.
Instead, it’s the 14 stained glass windows by Louis Comfort Tiffany that grace the sanctuary and tell the story of the life of Jesus. What’s even more remarkable about these beautiful works of art is that they were commissioned and added to the church piece by piece, as the funds were raised by parishioners.
Must-See Historic Churches in Northern Michigan
Guardian Angel Catholic Church
371 5th St, Manistee, MI 49660
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Guardian Angel Catholic Church in 1890. Recognizable by the 180-foot-tall bell tower that graces the middle of the façade, this is the tallest structure in Manistee. Built in a German, round-arch style called “Rundbogenstil,” you’ll also find elaborate brick design around the eves and circular dormers over stained glass windows.
Mackinac Island Mission Church
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
Standing tall on the beautiful Mackinac Island, Mission Church was originally built in New England style during 1829 and 1830. Missionaries Reverend William Ferry and his wife Amanda led the Presbyterian Congregation and encouraged many different fur traders to attend the church.
Traditionally, each family that attended the church had their own pew, a space of quiet for them to worship and find peace.
St. Francis Solanus Mission
500 West Lake Street, Petoskey, MI 49770
The first Catholic Church in Petoskey, the St. Francis Solanus Mission was built in 1859. One of the oldest buildings in both Petoskey and northern Michigan, the mission was built at the request of the “Snowshoe Priest,” Father Frederic Baraga.
The simple building features a bell tower addition on the front and is surrounded by a picket fence. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Although the mission is not always open, Mass is celebrated annually on July 14th, and tours are given on select Sundays “in season
Must-See Historic Churches in Mid-Michigan
Central United Methodist
215 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
Not having a large enough building to meet needs, the existing building of Central United Methodist began planning in 1888. Elijah E. Myers, who constructed the Capitol building, was the architect of this $41,842 project.
Crafted from Ionia sandstone and red oak, this beautiful church includes Romanesque features and memorial stained-glass windows. In 1889, the cornerstone was laid, and the congregation began worship only a year later.
Trinity Episcopal Church in Bay City
815 N Grant St, Bay City, MI 48708
This stunning sandstone church was built in 1887 in the Victorian Gothic style, featuring pointed arch windows and heavy buttresses. The church is home to some amazing stained-glass windows and an ornately carved altar screen.
Assumption of St. Mary Cathedral
615 Hoyt Ave, Saginaw, MI 48607-1716
Starting construction in 1901 and completing it in 1903, the Cathedral of Mary of the Assumption is the third structure to stand for this parish community. Extensive renovations took place in 1978, including moving the altar and cathedral, creating A Blessed Sacrament chapel, and relocating the organ.
A school was created in 1982 to accompany the church and it has had multiple renovations since then. The pipe organ is a 1930 Kilgen featuring 30 ranks of pipes for a total of 1,800. This beautiful cathedral hosts two tall spires, as well as beautiful pillars and stained-glass windows that accent its tall ceiling in the main worship area.
Must-See Historic Churches in Upper Peninsula
St. Paul the Apostle Church
301 8th St, Calumet, MI 49913
The premier ethnic church of Calumet, St. Paul the Apostle Church served its community for about twenty years before it was burned in the early 1900s. A new building was built and stands today, with twin spires and red sandstone.
The cornerstone was laid in 1903 and the building remained under construction for another 5 years. When the population started to decrease in 1966, the church was chosen to remain open due to the beauty and size of the congregation and building.
Holy Redeemer Church
507 South St, Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
Located in the Keweenaw Peninsula, Holy Redeemer was built in 1854 in the middle of the Upper Peninsula’s copper boom. Built in the Carpenter Gothic style, the church is notable for its simple beauty, with a single octagonal steeple topped by an iron cross. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.
The oldest church in Michigan is the Mission Church on Mackinac Island. Standing tall on the beautiful Mackinac Island, Mission Church was originally built in New England style during 1829 and 1830.
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About The Author
Content Writer Anna is currently a fourth-year student at Grand Valley State University studying Writing and Psychology. She has been writing for years and hopes to continue writing for many years as a creative outlet and potential career. Currently, she is working on finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree and figuring out what career field she wants to enter after graduation in the spring of 2023.