A BRIEF HISTORY
ST. MICHAEL CATHOLIC COMMUNITY
The first Catholic settlers came to this area in 1861. Before a church was built, a priest came from Otisco Township, Ionia, or Big Rapids and stayed in a parishioner’s home and offered Mass on Sunday.
The first log church was built on one acre of land deeded to the Diocese by George Minkel Jr. in 1871, and was in the NE corner of Section 7 of Wheatland Township. It was a mission church and a priest came from the diocese and later from Big Rapids to say Mass.
In 1886 work was started on a new church at the present location. This land was purchased from John Matzen. John Schroeder was the carpenter and built the church for $900.00. The first resident pastor, Fr. Joseph Steffes was appointed in August, 1888.
The rectory was built about the same time as the church and in the early 1920’s was remodeled. A basement was dug, several additions were built and the outside was bricked.
The first elementary school was constructed in 1903 and 1904 and served the parish until 1961 when the parish outgrew the school and the present building was built. An addition, housing a library, kindergarten room, office space, storage and restrooms was added in 1986.
The cornerstone for the present Church was laid in 1975. Bells from the old church were used in the bell tower, which was constructed in 1981.
The convent was built in 1948 and 1949. The Grotto and Shrine were built and completed in 1951. The Knights of Columbus Council restored the Grotto in the spring of 1996.
The new parish center, cafeteria, storage and kitchen facility was dedicated in July, 1996.
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