St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette

St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette

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St. Peter Cathedral, Marquette

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St. Peter Cathedral is a large Roman Catholic cathedral located on Baraga Avenue in Marquette, Michigan. As the mother church of the Diocese of Marquette, it is one of the most notable marks of Catholic presence in the Upper Peninsula. The church, as we see it today, is nothing like it first was, when a Jesuit priest named Father Jean-Baptiste Menet began holding services on the site in a small log cabin.

Upon Bishop Frederic Baraga’s visit to the site, it was determined that a larger, more prominent church should be built, and that eventually the see should be moved to Marquette from Sault Ste. Marie. Construction began in 1864, with Baraga himself laying the cornerstone. Two years later he dedicated the building, but fortunately he did not live to see his beloved cathedral catch fire.

Some have suggested that this first fire, on October 2, 1879, was caused by Irish arsonists who were enraged that Father John Kenny had been removed as pastor. Though the building was destroyed, the congregation’s resolve was fervent as ever, and plans were made to continue meeting in the basement before a new cathedral could be erected. It took nine winters to complete the new building.

The church also faced another tragic fire which destroyed everything except the sandstone walls: a few minutes after four in the morning on November 3, 1935, the building again erupted in flames.The Pittsburgh Press, "Fire Destroys Cathedral," Nov. 4, 1935, 9 A high school......
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