National Register of Historic Places Inventory – St. Joseph's Episcopal Church
Creator: United States Department of the Interior National Park Service
Subjects: Historic Designation, Corporate Records
Description: Description of the religious interior and exterior structures inside of the St. Joseph's Episcopal Church. Also known as the St. Matthew's - St. Joseph's Episcopal Church. Located at 8850 Woodward Avenue at Holbrook in Detroit, Michigan.
Original Format: Other
Rights Management: St. Joseph's Episcopal Church
Contributor: Carlton Rolle
Transcript: The structure, measuring 125 feet in length and 96 feet in width, is located on the northeast corner of Woodward Avenue and Holbrook in Detroit. The church is a dark coursed sandstone, English Gothic-style church with gray limestone trim built in 1926-27. It is typically Gothic in plan with a tall, narrow, gabled nave with lower side aisles extending back to projecting, gabled transepts. The north transept is abutted by a tall, square, flat-roofed tower with a louvered belfry, which serves as the transitional element between the church and the 11/2-story, Gothic, parish house wing which stretches along the rear of the lot to Holbrook Street, making the complex 'L' shaped. The buttressed facade consists of the usual recessed entrance portal surmounted by a rose window. The buttressed side elevations contain four bays of Gothic clerestory windows extending back to the gabled transepts with their attenuated tripartite Gothic windows. The church interior is early English Gothic in feeling with a wooden, beamed ceiling and massive masonry piers. It is dimly lit by richly colored, stained-glass windows. The sanctuary is furnished with elaborately carved oak paneling and furniture in the Gothic style.
Specific dates: 1926-27
Architect: James J. Nettleton (1862-1927) of Detroit, Michigan
This English Gothic church was the successor to the earlier St. Joseph's Memorial Chapel, located at Woodward Avenue and Medbury streets. The architect, James J. Nettleton, a graduate of Cornell University's school of architecture and former draftsman with the Detroit film of Donaldson and Meier, was a never of St. Joseph's congregation. In 1971, St. Matthew's, Detroit's oldest Black Episcopal congregation, merged with St. Joseph's Episcopal after the sale of their building to another congregation. The 1926-27 St. Joseph's Church is a well-preserved locally significant example of the Nee-Gothic movement in church architecture.