Ste. Anne's Church
Ste. Anne's Church was the first building completed at Fort Ponchartrain du Detroit. It was built as a parish for both the Recollet and Jesuit orders. It was built on the east end of the fort, likely in the middle of present day Jefferson Avenue at Griswold Street. Construction began on July 26, 1701 - Ste. Anne's Feast Day (hence its name) and lkely to a month to complete. Ste. Anne's congregation is the second oldest congregation in the United States.
The structure was 24.5 feet wide, 35 feet long, and 10 feet tall at the eaves. It had a door with a lock, and glass-less windows with wooden shutters. Contemporary buildings were constructed of logs driven vertically into the earth and packed with grass, mud, or clay, and it is likely that this construction was also used for the church. However, the storehouse at the Fort was built of oak planks, so it is possible the church was of similar construction. The church also may have had a clay and wattle chimney. Stark and Woodford mention the fireplace in the church being used for cooking and heat in the winter (most of the houses in the first village were too small to have fire places).
On October 5, 1703, an arsenist destroyed the second Ste. Anne's. It is likely that the building that replaced it was quite similar. By this time, the church was in Recollet hands only.
Ste. Anne's was rebuilt again in 1709. This third church was 35 feet by 24 1/2 feet by 10 feet. The church was "boarded entirely above, with oak joists in a good ridge, and below of beams wuth square joists; with its doors window [sic] and shutters, and sash-frames between twenty squares each" (Goodrich, Calvin, The First Michigan Frontier, University of Michigan, 1940, p. 58).
In 1712, the third Ste. Anne's was torn down to avoid the firey arrows of the Fox tribe. It may have been several years before another Ste. Anne's was built (if this was the case, mass was held in another building in the fort).
In 1755, the 6th (?) Ste. Anne's was built. Father Simple Bocquet became the priest of Ste. Anne's at this time.
In 1818, the 7th Ste. Anne's was built on Bates Street.
In 1886, the cornerstone was laid for the 8th and present Ste. Anne's Church. This final Ste. Anne's was designed by Leon Coquard and is an example of Gothic Revival style. Features of the church include: twin spires, a 35-foot altar, pinnacles, flying buttresses, and turrets. Father Gabriel Richard is buried under the altar.
Ste. Anne's Roman Catholic Church Complex, which includes a rectory, school, convent and parish hall, is located on Ste. Anne (19th Street) and Howard.
In 1887, a new building was added to Ste. Anne's to accomodate its growing congregation.
The church was rebuilt at least 2 more times before the fire of 1805.