296 Church Street (Church of St. Micheal the Archangel)
296 Church Street, Belleville, ON K8N
September 5, 1989; By-Law #12752
This Gothic styled church is built of rusticated stone. The plan of the church is rectangular, excepting a small gabled wing on the north west corner which contains the sacristy, and the chancel wall which is a polygonal apse. The roof is pitched and segmented into the clerestorey roof of the nave and the lower aisle roofs.
The history of the parish of St. Michael's the Archangel dates back to the early pioneer days, when Rev. Alexander MacDonnell came to this district. Father MacDonnell and his assistant were then the only Roman Catholic priests in Upper Canada. He was appointed the first Vicar-Apostolic in this area. In 1826 the Vicariate was created a Diocese by Pope Leo XII, and Kingston was named the See. Among the new priests to be ordained was Rev. Michael Brennan, who became the first resident priest in Belleville in 1829. Father Brennan travelled far to celebrate mass in the homes of settlers, but before the end of his first year, he erected a small wooden church, no more than twenty by thirty feet in size, on the south east corner of the lot where the present church now stands. The congregation grew rapidly, and in 1837 a stone church replaced the former structure. Father Brennan served the church for forty years.
On August 22, 1886, the corner stone was laid by Archbishop Cleary. On December 17, 1904, this church which was similar in design and architecture to the present St. Michael's Church, burned to the ground. There was little or no insurance carried and financing the building of a new structure seemed impossible. But, built on the faith of willing parishioners, a new St. Michael's rose out of the ashes within a year. This new beautiful church was built under the guidance of a remarkable man, Father Twomey. Today, Father Twomey rests under the tower of the church he helped to erect. The present Church of St. Michael's the Archangel was opened on October 15, 1905.
Newspaper articles on restoration and Structural Report on St. Michael's Church on file