The Historic Immaculate Conception Church

MARIA SANTISSIMA IMMACOLATA DI LOURDES

506 Blaine, Iron Mountain Michigan

The Immaculate Conception Church of Iron Mountain MI was built in 5 months by a dedicated priest and his parishioners at a cost of $4,000. Listed on the National and State Historic Registers.

"In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Italian immigrants came to Iron Mountain to work in the iron mines. In 1890, Italian Catholics from the community's north side organized what was popularly known as "the Italian Church." That year they built a frame church near this site. The church burned in 1893 and was rebuilt. In April 1902, Father G. Pietro Sinopoli arrived here. Within two months he formed a church building committee. Four thousand dollars was raised and in June, Father Sinopoli began excavating the foundation. The church was completed in December and dedicated to Mary Immaculate of Lourdes on January 1, 1903." (Michigan State Historical Marker)

In 1902, a subscription drive was started to raise funds for a new church. This was accomplished by arranging the families of the parish by their native provinces in Italy. In hardly an hour, $3,655.00 was subscribed. On June 24, 1902, ground was broken for the construction of a new church by Father Sinopoli himself when he began to dig the foundation. The workers worked on the church even after their already hard days in the iron mines of the area.

Father Sinopoli, always present, served as an inspiration and guide. He was the engineer, the architect, manual bricklayer, parish pastor and priest always on the site to direct, assist and design. While construction was in progress, Mr. Brown, superintendent of the Pewabic Mine, sent laborers to the church to help build it and paid them himself. Although he was not Catholic, he donated many timbers for the church from his mine. Mr. Carlo Novara and Mr. Domenic Brosio donated much of their labor as masons. Most of the workers, men of the parish, would donate a day or two of work each week.

Mostly miners, the men quarried and hauled sandstone with horse and wagon for the walls from a nearby site almost a mile south. They erected unusual timber trusses which support the barrel-vaulted ceiling, and the wooden roof. The overall effect of the church building, which has not changed significantly since its original construction, is that it is well made and created with loving care. The site in town where the stone was quarried is still recognizable.

In five short months, came a beautiful and magnificent House of Worship! Many hands and hearts labored to make a dream a reality. What was to be a simple parish church to meet the spiritual needs of the Italians living in Iron Mountain became a building that was to become a monument demonstrating the civility and pride of the Italians to their neighbors, while reminding them of the old country. (This paragraph from the successful application for the National Register of Historic Places)

 

 

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