St. Charles Borromeo Newport – Our Family History
1816 – A number of French-Canadian families settle in the Swan Creek Basin.
1837 – Michigan becomes a state.
1838 – Log house built on the farm of Peter Allore. House was located very near to the present church. Redemptorist Fathers from St. Anne’s Church, Detroit would occasionally stop and say Mass and dispense the sacraments. Services were held here until approximately 1846. Previous to this house being built, Mass was believed to be said in the home of Peter Brancheau on occasion.
1847 – Through the inspiration and enthusiasm of Fr. Charles De Prietre the first church was built. The land was donated by Jeremias Beaubien just south of the present church.
1853 – The second church is erected with the promise of a resident pastor by Bishop Lefevre. John B. Trombley donated 4 acres of land a short distance off Dixie Highway on Trombley Rd. The church was 30 by 25 feet in dimensions and 16 feet tall. The steeple was 20 feet high.
1853 – Louis Laduke donates land for a cemetery.
1853 – The first resident pastor, Fr. John Van Gennip was assigned to lead St. Charles.
1860 – Moses Loranger donates the first organ. His daughter, Aurelia was the first organist.
1871 – Built a rectory. For the previous 18 years the pastor stayed in the home of a parishioner often Mr. Trombley. Sometimes the pastor would stay in the lean-to off the back of the church which doubled as the sacristy.
1880 – Fr. H. Kemper came to St. Charles as pastor and recognized the necessity for a new church. His vision led to the erection of our present church.
1882 – The cornerstone is laid in the present church. The land was donated by Jacob and Frank Masserant.
1886 – The present church was completed.
1887 – The rectory was completed.
1912 – Fr. Tobias G. Morin launched a drive to create sentiment for the first St. Charles School. His ambitions were met with much opposition, but he and his supporters prevailed.
1914 – The school and convent are finished. The school opens in the fall with 62 students and sees its enrollment increase to 85 by March.
1923 – The school is destroyed by fire. The attached convent is salvaged. Plans begin immediately on rebuilding the school with the addition of an auditorium.
1924 – The auditorium is finished on the same foundation which the previous school was built. Classes were held in the auditorium while the school was being finished.
1925 – The school is finished along with the new convent. Fr. Alfred A. Hebert takes over as pastor and finishes the building program. For months Fr. Hebert had tractors and a small army of men plowing grading and leveling the grounds around the church rectory and school. Extensive cement sidewalks were laid, wells were drilled, new toilets and garages were built and the rectory was remodeled.
1931 – Purchased the land across the street from the church and installed a park with tennis courts.
1931 – New statues of the Sacred Heart and Blessed Virgin were purchased along with a marble communion rail, gold tabernacle, gold candlesticks and many other beautiful additions.
1940 – A 25 by 30 ft. addition was attached to the school for the purpose of a lavatory. A new boiler was put in the school as well. The back porch of the rectory was enclosed and a new roof was added to the auditorium.
1945 – The church was renovated and beautified. A few stain glass windows were added as well as kneelers and many other improvements.
1966 – A new school was built to increase the number of classrooms from four to eight.
1981 – The church was once again renovated and a building containing restrooms was added to the church.
1984 – Eucharistic Adoration Chapel is constructed onto the church.
1992 – New gymnasium is constructed which also is used for many parish events.
1994 – A new pitched roof is added to the present new school.
2013 – St. Charles and St. Anne Monroe join together as clustered parishes due to the shortage of priests in the Archdiocese.
2016 – Ground was broken for the addition of new classrooms to replace the aging school buildings and infrastructure.
Many improvements and enhancements have been made to St. Charles Parish over the past 175+ years that are not listed here. There is no intention to slight any person or project; however this timeline gives us a practical sense of the sacrifice that our forefathers experienced here at St. Charles Newport to make our parish what it is today.