Old Newspaper StoriesPostcardsWindsor

Immaculate Conception

While searching for information about the Boer War Memorial a few weeks back, I came across these renderings for the “new” Immaculate Conception Church at Wyandotte and Marentette.

Interesting to see that it was never built as designed. It was common in the past to plan the whole church, but build what you could afford. It would have been quite a landmark on the skyline if the steeples had been built. As it stands, the church towers over everything else in the neighbourhood.

Built in 1904, the church was designed by the architectural firm of Williams Brothers. Williams Brothers also designed Our Lady of the Rosary (closed & vacant) at Riverside and Drouillard.

The following blurb about the new church ran in the Evening Record on March 26, 1904:

Church of Immaculate Conception Soon to be Built

In this issue of the Evening Record are published cuts of the new Roman Catholic church of the Immaculate Conception to be erected this year at the corner of Wyandotte Street and Marentette Avenue. The edifice will be 150 feet long and capable of seating 750 people. It will be built of brick, with stone foundation. The basement, the ceiling of which will be 10 feet high, will be capable of accommodating an audience of 900 and will be used as a concert hall. A reading room will also be provided. The architecture is of the Gothic style. The roof will be of slate or galvanized iron. The building will be heated by steam and furnished with electrical and gas lighting appliances.

The church gets its name from the fact that the present year, 1904, is the golden jubilee of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. It is expected that the new building will be open for worship on Dec. 8th, the date of the proclamation in 1854. The limits of the new parish are not yet defined. Rev. Father Downey, who has the work in hand of canvassing for the new church, is meeting with good success.

Killed off by the diocese in the first great Windsor Historic Church purge, luckily this great old building was saved and has been well maintained by the local Chaldean community. The Chaldeans purchased it after closure and reopened it as The Holy Family Chaldean Catholic Church.

Also killed off in round one were St. Clare’s (Tecumseh @ Victoria) and Sacred Heart (Ottawa St. @ Benjamin).

A postcard view of the church dated 1907.

As you can see in this shot taken yesterday, not much has changed in the 101 years since the postcard above was dropped in the mail.

Windsor was lucky to have the various ethnic communities (Chaldeans, Maronites & Coptics) who were ready, willing and able to step up to the plate and save these community landmarks.

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