St. Joseph Catholic Church

1331 7th Street



    Style:                        Romanesque Revival

    Description:              This church is described in “Buildings of Michigan” by Kathryn Bishop Eckert, 1993.  Architects Donaldson and Meier designed many Catholic churches in the Detroit area.  This structure was built in a Latin cross-plan.  The cross-gabled roofline is red tiled.  Dark red brick walls are trimmed in limestone.  The gabled front is flanked by square towers with open belfries, balconets, and octagonal tiled roofs.  The recessed front entrance is flanked by six polygonal columns with floriated Romanesque capitals.  A large rose window is over the entrance, and in the transepts.  Tall narrow stained glass windows with rounded tops are located on the sides.  The red brick and limestone checkerboard pattern on the front is accented with Pewabic tiles.


Significant Period:

    Construction Date:     1922-23

    Architect/Builder:       Donaldson and Meier, Detroit

    Context:                    The history of Catholicism began with the French settlement of southeastern Michigan.  The first parish established in Port Huron was that of St. Stephen.  On January 8, 1888, the St. Joseph Society met for the first time at the home of H. Marx, with the aim of establishing a German Catholic church.  In June of that year, they purchased property on the southwest corner of Seventh and Chestnut Streets.  In February 1889, Bishop Foley assigned Reverend Clement Theodore Bernard Krebs as the first priest of the new congregation.  The Bishop stipulated it would be a mixed, not a national church.  In March 1890, Father Krebs said his first mass in a store in the O’Neill block on Military Street.  Services were soon held at the meeting hall of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.  In 1890, a combination school and church were built on the property southwest of Seventh and Chestnut.  The parish grew, and the current church was built on the northwest corner of Seventh and Chestnut in 1922-23.  At that time a convent was built behind the school to house the Sisters of the Order of Saint Dominic.  By the end of the decade the house north of the church was purchased as a rectory.  In 1940, the old school was replaced with the current one.