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St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
7469 Calhoun
Dearborn, Michigan 48126
Wayne County


Date Built: 1929

Architect: Arthur Des Rosiers

Architect’s City: Detroit

Number of Pictorial Windows: 55

Number of Non-pictorial Windows: 17

Floor Plan Sketch: Download

Building Notes:

St. Alphonsus parish had its beginnings when some 40 German families from Rhineland-Westphalia settled in the area that is now east Dearborn between 1825 and 1845. In 1846 Peter Esper donated some of his farm land to establish a Catholic school. The first mass was celebrated in 1851 in the Esper home. In 1852 the Redemptorist Fathers organized St. Alphonsus Parish, named for the founder of the priest's order. A small brick church was built on the property donated by the Esper family at Warren and Schaefer and was in use until a new church was built in 1874. No photos exist of the original church.

Ground was broken on April 11, 1928 for a new church building for St. Alphonsus parish, to replace the 1874 building. Architect Arthur des Rosiers designed the church, as well as the 1925 convent, in the Neo-Gothic style. The church is built in the form of a cross, the ceiling arches are crowned with Tudor-style wooden beams, and the floor is laid with Pewabic tiles. Paintings by Alfred Wrobbel can be found throughout the church, and the 38 foot high altar features Roman stone and Italian marble. The first mass was celebrated in the new church on Easter Sunday, March 31, 1929. All services were then conducted in the new church, although the altars were not completed until February 1930. The formal dedication of the church building occurred on May 18, 1930.

When the new church opened none of the stained glass windows were in place. Photos in the book from the dedication show what appears to be a plain ripple patterned glass in the windows and credits the Wayne Glass Co. for the glazing.

The first group of stained glass windows was installed in 1931. These windows were made in Austria by the Tyrolese Art Glass Company and included the large window in the choir, one of the transept windows, the four sanctuary windows and one nave window. The smaller memorial windows in the side aisles were installed during the 1930's and 40's. Most of these windows are inscribed "Made in Austria" or "Tyrolese Art Glass Co, Innsbruck Austria".

The remaining nine nave windows and one transept window were installed sometime after 1945 and were made by the Detroit Stained Glass Works. The parish history book published in 1952 for the 100th anniversary incorrectly credits all of the stained glass windows to DSGW. The windows from DSGW can be identified by a simplified decorative panel above and below the main image where the Tyrolese windows have a very intricate pattern.

The Saint Alphonsus Catholic Church Complex is a registered Michigan Historical Site #L1994

Windows photographed by David A. Katona
Information compiled by Lori Husse Katona and David Katona

References St. Alphonsus Church Dedication book May 18, 1930
"A Century of Conquest"; St. Alphonsus parish 100th anniversary book, 1952
St. Alphonsus News (parish bulletin) June 8, 1930; May 30, 1931
The Voice (parish bulletin) Oct. 12, 1952
"A Guide to St. Alphonsus Church"; By Lori Husse Katona 2004
Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture

St. Alphonsus Catholic Church
MSGC: 2007.0010

Census Coordinator:
Lori Katona
David Katona

Studio Name
Detroit Stained Glass Works, The
Wayne Glass Company
Tyrolese Art Glass Company

Colored diamond pattern
Bible and Chalice
St. Rose of Lima and St. Teresa Little Flower
Miter and Lamb (Agnus Dei)
St. James the Less and St.Thaddeus
St. Philip and St. Thomas
St. Andrew and St. James the Great
Chalice and Harp
Decorative pattern with a Cross and a rose
Bells and Drum
St. Joseph and St. Stanislaus
St. Alphonsus
The Coronation of Mary
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Dove with fish and Anchor with fish
The Descent of the Holy Spirit
The Resurrection
The Ascension of the Lord into Heaven.
Jesus dies on the Cross
The Carrying of the Cross
St. Elizabeth of Hungary and St. Catherine
Host and Scale
Decorative patterns with Crosses
Decorative patterns with Crosses
Woman, Bull and Crosses
St. Anne and Immaculate Conception
Lion Head and Bird Head
St. Matthew and St. Simon
Decorative pattern with crosses
St. Bartholomew and St. John
St. Peter and St. Paul
Bishop's Miter and Scroll
Baptism of Jesus and St. John the Baptist
Colored diamond pattern
Violin and Horns
St. Aloysius Gonzaga and St. John the Baptist
The finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
The Flight of Mary, Joseph and child, Jesus into Egypt
Presentation of Jesus in the Temple
Chi Rho and Symbols
The Annunciation
Nativity or Birth of the Lord
The Scourging of Jesus at the Pillar
The Crowning of Jesus with Thorns
St. Columban and St. Patrick
Sacred Heart and Hourglass
Colored diamond pattern
Patrons of religious music