St. Alphonsus Church, Windsor Ontario
St Alphonsus, Windsor, Ontario
St. Alphonsus, Windsor, Ontario

“In 1854, one year after its erection into a village with a population of one thousand, the old Great Western, now part of the Grand Trunk System, gave Windsor its first railroad connection. That the little village around which was woven much of the early historical romance of primeval life along the Detroit frontier was destined to forge ahead in population and commercial expansion was apparent to men of vision, such as the Right Reverend Armandus De Charbounel, Bishop of Toronto. As early as 1852, in the course of a visitation of his diocese, which at that period embraced all the present Province of Ontario, west of Kingston, Bishop de Charbounel visited the homes of the habitants, the French farmers along the riverfront from Lake St. Clair to Windsor. At the latter place, Reverend Pierre Poiret, S.J., pastor of L'Assumption, Sandwich, led his distinguished guest to partake of the hospitality of Mr. Vital Ouellette, a prominent farmer living on Sandwich Street, then known as the Chemin du Roi, or King's Highway. Here, while discussing the influx of population that would inevitably follow the establishment of a railroad terminus in Windsor, the Bishop with a majestic wave of his hand toward the eastern portion of the village, declared that a church should there be built to meet the needs of the Catholic residents.”

“Mr. Vital Ouellette and his brother-in-law, Mr. Daniel Goyeau, offered each an acre of land from their respective farms lying along what is now known as Ouellette Avenue and Goyeau Street. By the time the final choice of the church site had been made, the land on Goyeau Street had changed hands, having been sold to Mr. S. S. Macdonnell. The latter donated, or sold for the consideration of One Dollar, to the Roman Catholic Episcopal Corporation, the three lots on which St. Alphonsus Church, Hall and Presbytery now stand.

“On September 18, 1856, the site on Goyeau Street was solemnly blessed by the first Bishop of the newly erected See of London, Right Reverend Peter Adolphus Pinsonneault, in presence of Reverend Poiret, S.J., and Reverend Joseph Bayard, Bishop's Secretary.”

“The first church was a plain, simple frame building with a small square sanctuary, opening into a smaller sacristy, its rough board pulpit draped with red baize; the melodeon placed within the plain wooden communion rail. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was given once a month, Assumption Church, Sandwich, supplying the singers.”

“The spring of 1871 witnessed the laying of the comer-stone of the new church by Right Reverend Dr. Walsh, Bishop of London. At this time old St. Alphonsus Church was moved back from Goyeau Street to face Park Street, where it remained until 1900, when it was demolished to make way for the proposed presbytery.”

“St. Alphonsus, Windsor, had the honour of being the first church consecrated in the diocese of London. The ceremony took place on July 1, 1873. Right Reverend Dr. Walsh, Bishop of London, was the consecrator, assisted by Most Reverend Dr. Lynch, Archbishop of Toronto, and thirty-five priests.”

Quoted from the “In and Around Detroit” Website