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St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)

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Title: St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church (Detroit), Joseph Leopold Imesch, St. Thomas the Apostle's Church (Detroit, Michigan), St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Collection: 20Th-Century Roman Catholic Church Buildings, Belgian-American Culture in Michigan, Churches in Detroit, Michigan, Churches in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit, National Register of Historic Places in Detroit, Michigan, Properties of Religious Function on the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan, Religious Buildings Completed in 1922, Roman Catholic Churches Completed in 1922, Romanesque Revival Churches in Michigan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish Complex
Location 1491-1515 Baldwin Street, 1480 Townsend Street
Detroit, Michigan
Built 1912
Architect Van Leyen & Schilling; Peter Dederichs
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Romanesque Revival, Baroque Revival, Prairie School
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 89000488[1]
Added to NRHP June 09, 1989

St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Church is a church located at the corner of Baldwin Avenue and St. Paul Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. The church address is 1515 Baldwin Street; ancillary buildings are located at 1491 Baldwin Street (Rectory) and 1480 Townsend Street (School Building).[2] The complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[1]


  • History 1
  • Description 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


In the late 1850s, Belgian Catholics immigrated to Detroit and settled in the eastside neighborhoods near Gratiot and Baldwin.[3] In 1886, a parish dedicated to St. Charles Borromeo was established to minister to this congregation.[3] A wood-frame church was constructed for the parish, and quickly expanded. As Detroit grew, the parish grew along with it, with French, German, Irish, Scotch, and English immigrant congregants in addition to the original Belgians. By 1920, the congregation numbered over 3000.[3] By the 1930s, the school's population also included many Catholic children of Syrian and Italian immigrants.

In 1912, the two-story rectory and school was designed and built by Van Leyen & Schilling.[3] In 1918, Peter Dederichs was awarded a contract to build an "edifice of Romanesque style for religious use".[3] Just four years after the church was completed, it was expanded to meet the needs of the growing congregation.[2]

The church is still used today, although the congregation has altered. The rectory serves its original function, and the school is leased by the Church of Messiah.[3]


The St. Charles Borromeo parish complex consists of four buildings, three of which are historically significant: the church itself, the rectory, and the school.[4]

The church is built with red-brown tapestry brick on a white Bedford stone foundation, with trim of the same stone. The church is built in a Latin Cross plan, 92 feet across and 180 feet in depth.[3] The design is Romanesque with Arts and Crafts elements.[4] The front facade is flanked by asymmetric towers with red tiled hip-roofs.[4] The entranceway is within a two-story arched structure with columns on each side, above which is a large rose window.[4] Rosettes are in the spandrels above the entrance arches, and green tile fills the spandrels and pediments of the front and side facades.[4] The decorative brick pilasters around the central arch are derived from Prairie School or Arts and Crafts models.

The main altar is rose window above the main entrance.[3]

The school and rectory were designed in the Prairie style with some Byzantine elements.[2]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b c "Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish". website. Reynolds Farley and Judy Mullin (University of Michigan). 2005–2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish Complex" (PDF). City of Detroit Planning and Development Department website. City of Detroit ITS/Communications and Creative Services Division. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Saint Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish Complex". Michigan's Historic Sites Online website. State of Michigan. 2001–2003. Retrieved 2008-12-11. 

External links

  • St. Charles Borromeo Parish from the Archdiocese of Detroit
  • Church Website
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