St. Michael's Catholic Church

The earliest recorded Catholic Church in Cannelton was St. Patrick's, erected about 1850 for about 10 or 12 families. It soon became too small, and in June, 1858, the cornerstone of the present church was laid. In June, 1859 the Catholics marched from St. Patrick's Church on North 6th Street to the New Church. Built of native sandstone, the spire, rising 156 feet, has well withstood the elements for 127 years. The pastor, Rev. Michael Marendt, traveled through Latin America from 1861 to 1866 collecting funds to pay for the building.

The interior was completed in 1869. In the same year the Franciscan Sisters moved into the basement of the church which was also used as a school for awhile. Of the four bells in the tower, the largest weighs 1060 pounds. It was blessed "Maria, Joseph" in September of 1860. The three smaller bells weigh 623 pounds, 336 pounds and 119 pounds respectively and we blessed "Joseph", Anna", and "Cecilia on March 13, 1870. The Church was frescoed again in 1926 by Leber Bros. of Louisville, KY, under the direction of Rev. Edward T. Hilger, who was Pastor at the time. He also had the side altars and the windows put in, and converted the church basement into a chapel erecting in it the beautiful Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. The organ is a Wicks pipe organ installed in 1950 under direction of Rev. Maurice DeJean, who also had the floor concreted and tiled, the building tuckpointed and the pews from the St. Paul's Church in Tell City installed in 1954. The church was redecorated in 1958 by Michael J. Rutherford, assisted by Mrs. Norman Schroeder and Mrs. Charles Rutherford. Miss Louise Busam repainted the statues in the same year. The light fixtures were donated by Mrs. Edward Clemens and Mrs. Eugene Clemens.

The most recent improvement was made in early September of 1984 by Robert L. Rutherford who designed and poured the concrete sidewalk-ramp step arrangement on the east side so that after 125 years one can enter the church without climbing a flight of stairs.

On Sunday, September 30, 1984, St. Michael's celebrated its 125th anniversary. The church has had a very colorful history. Midnight Mass is still a Christmas Eve celebration.

The Rectory

The rectory was built about 1872 by Rev. Fr. Edwards M. Faller with his own money. He also had the tower clock installed in the church tower about this time. It was later run by electricity. After a few years the clock again was silent. It was restored in 1982 by Dr. and Mrs. Gordon Gilbert of Cannelton.

Since the rectory was deteriorating from the foundation to the roof and was no longer used, the furnishings were sold at auction on December 1, 1973. The 1872 rectory became past history when it was razed in mid August, 1981.

This church, built in 1859, is one of the remaining Cannelton structures built with sandstone quarried from the nearby hills. The church is constructed with finished sandstone blocks on the exterior and interior walls and loose rock chips (spalls) and mortar on the inside with walls 38 - 41 inches thick. This is the same construction used in the cotton mill. The spire was added in 1860, it rises 156 feet and contains four bells. One weighs 1,060 pounds and the other three weigh 623, 336 and 119 pounds. The church was remodeled in 1927, 1954 and 1977.