St. Michael the Archangel Parish is one of the oldest parishes in the diocese of Springfield- Cape Girardeau. The first building of the church was in constructed 1827. During this time, it became necessary to move to a higher location, out of the flood-prone land, and then to create a brand new, larger church. The funds for this third structure were accumulated by spring and fall festivals and a picnic on Labor Day. These efforts continued for six years, and combined with the generosity of the parishioners, created the church.
The architect for this extensive project was Mr. Henry Dreisoerner. He became recommended because he was rebuilding the Fredericktown High School as a result of the destruction by a recent fire. Mr. Dreisoerner recommended to Father Mispagel the Dollinger Brothers and the granite quarries of Buck Mountain. Mr. Dreisoerner bought Buck Mountain, and volunteered to let the parish take all of the granite they should need for the church, on the sole condition that the people build a wagon road from Oak Grove to the Mountain. This road was promptly build with $350 and ninety days of labor from the men of the parish.
On January 6, 1926, the first drill hole was put in, and granite was beginning to be quarried. By November, all of the granite was at the site for the cost of $4500 for trucking. On January 3, 1927, the wrecking of the old wooden bell tower was carried out, and on January 24th, the last services in the 80 year old brick building were held. It was a sad scene, but the reminder of the new church kept everyone joyful. One week later, all the men, old and young, were invited to help wreck the remains of the old church, and assist in cleaning up afterward. This task was completed in early February.
The cornerstone laying of the New church took place on May 8, 1927. Archbishop John J. Glennon and Rev. John Rothensteiner were there to celebrate the ceremony. Inside, a box was placed with many items of history. The cornerstone will not be opened until the year of 2027. The church was completed by December 25, 1927.
The music of the church is contributed by the Wicks organ installed in the choir loft. The mosaic is up front and was added some time later after 1927. The church is heated by a natural gas water boiler, and cooled by a water cooled ventilator system. Light for the interior is produced by three chandeliers that hang in the air above the center aisle. Sound is produced through the speakers off of the light fixtures, and are positioned so that the sound is available to anyone in church.
For further information, please reference articles in the following books:
"An Old Missouri Parish" by Father John Rothensteiner, copyright 1927, available at St. Michael the Archangel Parish.
"Historical Madison County, 1818-1988" available through the Madison County Historical Society or the Madison County Public Library.
"The Catholic Church in Southern Missouri" copright 2005, available at St. Michael the Archangel Parish.