St. Joseph's Church

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  • Formed as a parish in 1873, the first church was built in 1884 to support the growing French-Canadian population in Salem.
  • St. Joseph's Church (Roman Catholic) is at 135 Lafayette Street at the corner of Dow St. This 1949 structure was a replacement for the Romanesque Revival church built c 1910/11. The former church was burnt to a hollow shell after the 1914 Salem Fire.
  • For years the parish used the renovated cellar and tower bases of the old church, until 1949, when they started rebuilding the church.
  • The 1950 edifice of St. Joseph's Church is indicative of the International Style of architecture, with a minimum of ornament.
  • In the park in front of the church is the Mourning Victory statue, dedicated in 1947 to the men and woman of St. Joseph Parish who served in W.W. I and II for God and country.
  • After many active years as a parish, the Boston Catholic Archdiocese decided to close St. Joseph's in 2004. They cited declining attendance, deteriorating finances, crumbling buildings and an aging priesthood as the reasons so many parishes must close.
  • St. Joseph's parish ran St. Joseph's School for 116 years until closing in 2009.
  • St. Joseph's milestones: 1873: Parish founded; 1884: First church built; 1892: First school built; 1911: Second church built; 1914: Great Salem Fires destroys church; 1950: Current church built; 2004: Archdiocese of Boston closes parish; 2013: St. Joseph Church razed.
  • After seven years of delay, St. Joseph's Church will be torn down in the winter of 2013 to make way for an affordable housing project.
  • The 12 foot statue of St. Joseph,from the 1911 brick and stone church, believed to be buried in the parking lot, was uncovered in the excavation for the new building project and then reburied.
  • The new construction on the St. Joseph's site will include a four-story apartment building will begin as soon as the site is cleared. There will also be eight subsidized Section 8 apartments.
  • The apartment building on the site of the old church is called 135 Lafayette Apartments and has 51 apartments and is a "mixed income" community.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Churches
  • "Honor Veterans of St. Joseph's Parish at Unveiling of 30 foot memorial" Salem News, Oct. 20, 1947, p.12
  • "Four local churches to close; Plans to affect Peabody, Salem, Beverly, Danvers" Salem Evening News, May 26, 2004, p. A1
  • St. Joseph's will appeal closing plan" Salem News, May 27, 2004, p.A1
  • "New St. Joseph's Church is dedicated amid pomp, splendor; 1900 at Banquet" Salem Evening News, May 22, 1950, p. ?
  • "St. Joseph demolition set to start" Salem News, Jan. 9, 2013
  • "Case of the missing statue: search at St. Joseph Church has turned up nothing" Salem News, Jan. 10, 2013, p. 1
  • "The story behind the St. Joseph statue" Salem News, May 17, 2013, p. 2
  • "Workers find statue of St. Joseph" Salem News, May 14, 2013, p. 1