St. Paul's Church / Episcopal Church

Registered Site L1028

St. Paul's Church

Under the leadership of Justus Gage (1805-1875), this structure was built in 1859 as a Universalist church. Completed at a cost of $3,000, it is Dowagiac's oldest public building. At the time of completion, it was the town's only auditorium. Women's rights advocates Victoria Woodhill, Belva Lockwood, Anna Shaw, Mary Livermore and Susan B. Anthony spoke here, as did civil rights supporter Sojourner Truth. Performers appearing here included Ole Bull, the Norse violinist. Episcopalians first met here in 1897. The Romanesque style of the exterior has remained unchanged; however, the interior was remodeled extensively in 1959, when Dom Francis Bacon O.S.B., (1903-1967) added mosaics and decorations reminiscent of very early churches.
photo of St. Paul

Episcopal Church

The first recorded Episcopal gathering in Cass County was conducted by Bishop Philander Chase in 1832. In 1858, under the auspices of the Trinity Church of Niles, the first Episcopal services in Dowagiac were held. In 1897 the Reverend R.H.F. Gairdner of Niles helped establish St. Albans Mission. The mission rented this property. After St. Albans Mission dissolved in 1903, a small group of Episcopalians continued to meet informally until 1911, when St. Paul's Mission was formed. The mission first leased this structure, then purchased and remodeled it in 1913. On June 8, 1915, St. Paul's was established as a parish of the Diocese of Western Michigan. The consecration of this building as an Episcopal church was held on December 17, 1919.

Erected 1984

Location: 306 Courtland Street
Dowagiac, Cass County

Topics:
Episcopal Churches

Latitude: 41.984615, Longitude: -86.111561

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