I saw a steeple rising above the town of Gaylord, ( one of my favorite places to stop on a trip up I-75) and I had to see what the old church looked like then I found out it is now the Mount Carmel Centre used as a performing arts center. There is a historical marker standing out front that reads:
St. Mary’s Church began as a mission of the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. The first church was built around 1884. The parish grew to become a predominantly Polish congregation while under the pastorate of Father Casmir Skory (1892 – 1905). In 1893 Father Skory founded the St. Mary’s School, which was served by the Dominican Sisters. Father Skory was instrumental in the planning and construction of this church in 1900.
The Neo-Gothic St. Mary’s Catholic Church has been a Gaylord landmark since it was dedicated on September 15, 1900. When the Diocese of Gaylord was established in 1972, the church became the cathedral. The diocese built a new cathedral in 1976 and closed St. Mary’s. In 1985 a local group, fearing the building would be razed, purchased it for use as a performing arts center, which they named the Mount Carmel Centre.
I see a lot of old churches in Michigan, and I see some that are no longer used for worship or have been left abandoned. I love old churches because of the grand architecture that was built with pride by the community they served. You know the saying “they don’t build them like that anymore” it’s probably because they are difficult and expensive to build. They also require a lot of maintenance and are not energy efficient. Although they are beautiful, it’s hard to find a use for an old church when it is no longer needed that’s why I am fascinated when I see a church that has found a new purpose.
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