St. Joseph Church
On April 20, 1900, Saint Joseph parish was erected as a territorial parish from the territories of Saint Mary Parish (New Haven), Saint Patrick Parish (New Haven) and Saint Francis Parish (Fair Haven). The new and sizable congregation had been ably severed since 1894 at a Lawrence Street chapel. Having combined the territories of these three neighboring parishes, a new church building was planned to house the sizable congregation serving primarily Italian immigrant families. Overseen by Rev. M.J. Daly and designed by Joseph A. Jackson, the church was constructed between 1904 and 1905 on Edwards Street, St. Joseph Church as a vital part of New Haven’s Orange Street Historic District. The finalized church was dedicated on October 22, 1905.
Located in the heart of the East Rock area of New Haven on 129 Edwards Street, the church bears a remarkable resemblance to Saint Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, Italy c.553-49. The yellow brick Romanesque edifice leads into the King’s hall (basilica) or the Emperor’s court is reflective of the Byzantine art and culture of the 6th century which attempted to convey the religious truth that only Christ is the ruler and Emperor of the universe. When one steps inside Saint Joseph Church, eyes are drawn to the altar then upwards to the painted mural (representing the mosaic style of the early Byzantine art) consisting of the Lamb of God leading the flock to and through the crucifixion to the heavenly kingdom of Christ the eternal King.
In the 2000s, signs of distress of the 130-foot bell tower at the southeast corner of the entry facade became apparent. The parish retained Hoffmann Architects to conduct an assessment finding a large, vertical crack had developed at the corner of the tower. Leaks into the copper-domed cupola at the opposite side of the entry facade had become problematic. Reconstruction of a portion of the exterior masonry at the bell tower, masonry repointing, application of a reinforced elastomeric coating to the copper dome roofs of the bell tower and cupola, sealant joint replacement, and limestone repair. Effectively, protecting the one-hundred-year-old structure for future generations of worshippers.
St. Joseph Church lends itself to the historic fabric of its diverse neighborhoods it's importance to the communities of New Haven.