Sunday, November 23, 2014

Now Identified: St. Michael Parish Church in Elizabeth, N.J.

This souvenir building depicting the St. Michael Parish Church building located at 52 Smith St., in Elizabeth, N.J. has now been identified. The book, Monumental Miniatures, has this replica as number 1368 and the location was unidentified. Through some diligent web research, I was able to pinpoint the replica’s location. It stands 3 inches tall with a 3.5 by 1.5 inch base. Inscribed on the base are the dates, ‘1852 – 1952’ and I believe these date commemorate the establishment of the parish in 1852. The building structure itself, however, was not constructed until about 1872 and remains unchanged today. According to this website: “In 1852, about 25 German Catholic families in Elizabeth resolved to form their own parish. After worshiping in a rented room, the parishioners launched an intensive fundraising campaign. A plot of land on Smith Street, near Elizabeth Avenue, was purchased in 1853. A small, simple wooden church was the first permanent home of the fledgling parish-the first German Catholic parish in Union County. Father Albert von Schilgen, in 1870, became pastor of St. Michael Parish. Soon after his arrival, plans were developed for a new church. Land was purchased on the corner of East Jersey and Smith Streets. In all a little over two years, on the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the new church was blessed.”

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