St. Michael, Ironwood

St. Michael Parish in Ironwood was founded in 1891 by the Polish, Hungarian, Slovak, Slovenian, Bohemian and Croatian members of St. Ambrose Church.  In that same year, the parishioners numbering about 250 families, purchased two lots on McLeod Avenue and quickly had a new wood-framed church with an adjoining rectory built. The first priest to serve the parish was Father Anselm Mlynarczyk.

Little is known of the priests who succeeded Father Mlynarczyk other than their names: Father Francis Jiranek, Father Frank Maciarcz, and Father John C. Bienarz.

It was in 1907 that the Slovak, Hungarians and Croatians left St. Michael's to form Holy Trinity Church. This left the majority of St. Michael's of Polish descent.
Parish Life

From 1896 to 1925 the parish was under the leadership of Father Fabian Pawlar.  During his 30-year pastorate, Father Pawlar had the church brick veneered. He also spurred construction of the parish's first school. He also re-purchased the rectory building - which had been owned by a saloonkeeper and then by the Menominee Brewing Company.

On October 8, 1925 Father Pawlar entered Eternal Life and was laid to rest in the city's Riverside Cemetery. He was succeeded by Father Frank Ignatz.

The 1940s brought many improvements to the church, including new pews and hardwood flooring, a new organ, construction of the steeple and interior decoration.  The Ladies Altar Society reorganized in 1945 to help support these improvements.  The group is credited with rebuilding the church basement to include a modern kitchen and dining room in 1949.

In 1952 the parish's Holy Name Society and Third Order of St. Francis were started.
St. Michael's celebrated the 75th anniversary of its founding in 1966.  Festivities included a Mass of Thanksgiving held Sunday, Sept. 25 with Bishop Thomas L. Noa presiding.  A luncheon reception followed.
Many improvements were made to St. Michael's church throughout the decades, often through donated labor.  The people joined forces with the neighboring church of Holy Trinity to form a parish school in the 1960s.  Then, in 1986, St. Michael's consolidated with St. Ambrose and Holy Trinity to form the new parish of Our Lady of Peace.

Parish School
St. Michael's first parish school was constructed in 1908.  Just 10 years later financial difficulties led to the closure of the school.  The building was demolished in 1944 and the property sold.  From 1952 to 1963 the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross held regular catechism classes for the young people of the parish.
It wasn't until St. Michaels' joined forces with Holy Trinity Parish in the 1960s that the dream of a parish school again became a reality.
The Holy Trinity-St. Michael Grade School (name correct?) opened its doors to first through fourth grades in 1962.  One grade was added every year until (1966 making the school 1-8 right?)
In 1986 Holy Trinity-St. Michael School merged with St. Ambrose School to form Our Lady of Peace Catholic School.  (What became of the school facilities?)
In 1986 St. Michael Parish merged with St. Ambrose and Holy Trinity churches in Ironwood to form the new Our Lady of Peace Parish.  The consolidation was the result of fewer priests to serve the area and an overall declining parish membership.  The former St. Ambrose Church building is the parish's house of worship.  (What became of St. Michael's building?)

Records for St. Michael Church are located at Our Lady of Peace Parish in Ironwood.
Father Anselm Mlynarczyk 1891-1892
Father Francis Jiranek 1893
Father Frank Maciarcz 1893
Father John C. Bienarz 1893-1895 (or was it Bieniary?)
Father Stanislaus Barnowski 1895-1896
Father Fabian Pawlar 1896-1925
Father Francis Ignatz 1925-1930
Father Charles Szygula 1930-1942
Father Francis X. Ronkowski 1942-1976
Father Frank Hollenbach 1976-1984
Father James Genovesi 1984-1986