St. Vincent de Paul parish established in 1851 by Bishop Peter Paul LeFevre, once included all of Oakland County and parts of Genesee, Lapeer and Macomb counties. The parish's first house of worship, the Academy Building, was first a private school and later a branch of the University of Michigan
. In 1866 the church was moved from North Saginaw Street to Oakland Avenue at Lafayette. The parish grew as increasing numbers of Irish and German Catholic immigrants came to Pontiac to work in industry and farming. The Reverend Fridolin Baumgartner, pastor from 1876 to 1894, organized the fund raising for the construction of the present church. Nearly 5,000 people celebrated as its cornerstone was laid on September 6, 1885.