The Oldest, Still-Operating Church in Michigan
There are two churches in Michigan that can be referred to as the “oldest operating” one. So let’s take ‘em one at a time.
1) This massive, gorgeous church had small beginnings in 1701 as a tiny chapel in the new Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit, which was eventually shortened to just plain ‘Detroit’. The chapel was dedicated on July 26, the feast day of Sainte Anne, and therefore was christened ‘Ste. Anne de Detroit’. Over the next 185 years, the chapel was re-built with additions, improvements, and repairs until 1886 when the eighth edition became the permanent one we know today. An original 1818 cornerstone is a part of the current church.
2) Now there is another Michigan church that says it is the oldest, still-operating church in Michigan. St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Hamburg was organized and began operations in 1844. The Historical marker out front states that it’s “one of the oldest Episcopal churches in Michigan”, but it doesn’t say THE oldest.
So let’s put this straight on the table. It is probably true that the St. Stephens church is the oldest still-operating church, using its original 1844 building. But the Ste. Anne church in Detroit was actually organized over 100 years earlier, but the structure is not the original. So it’s fair to say Ste. Anne has the original parish while St. Stephens has its original building. Make sense?
Ste. Anne de Detroit is located at 1000 St. Anne Street in Detroit, and the St. Stephens church can be found at 10585 Hamburg Road in Hamburg.
Take a look at some photos below, featuring the mind-boggling insides of Saint Anne!
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