Description of Historic Place
St. Peter's Maronite Church and Rectory, built in 1930-31, is an outstanding Art Deco style structure of intricately patterned buff-coloured brick, with an imposing aluminium-clad spire.
Located on a major thoroughfare in central Windsor, this local landmark is recognized for its heritage value by the City of Windsor By-law 99-2001 and amending City of Windsor By-law 305-2001. The designation covers the church and rectory exteriors, as well as the sanctuary.
The building is associated with St. Clare of Assisi Roman Catholic Parish and with local architect Albert H. Lothian. Completed in 1931, it operated as St. Clare Roman Catholic Church for almost 70 years. When threatened with demolition due to a declining number of parishioners, it was purchased in 2000 by St. Peter's Maronite Catholic Church, thereby ensuring the site's continuance as an exceptional house of worship.
Designed by renowned local architect Albert H. Lothian, St. Peter's Maronite Church and Rectory is Windsor's most outstanding Art Deco style building and is believed to be the only Art Deco church of its kind in Canada. Lothian not only designed the church and attached rectory in the Art Deco style but everything found within, from the light sconces and pews to the painted Stations of the Cross.
The structure displays Art Deco's concern with stylized detailing and craftsmanship. The striking exterior of buff-coloured brick cladding has intricate jagged patterns, broken with angular projections and pale stained glass windows. High overhead, the masonry pattern becomes even more decorative in the tower, which culminates in an aluminium-clad spire. Of the same design and materials as the church, the two-storey rectory features a three-sided brick portico on the east facade and double-hung windows with intricate surrounds.
Unlike most church interiors of the day, which had long central aisles, the elliptical-shaped sanctuary focuses all attention on the high altar, with clusters of pews radiating on three axes from the altar. Other outstanding features include the non-figural, leaded, stained glass windows, cruciform clerestory windows, pillars that taper from top to bottom to enhance the view of the altar, and fine oak woodwork.
Sources: The City of Windsor By-law 99-2001 and the City of Windsor By-law 305-2001 (amending legal description); Building Analysis Form, November 2000; and City of Windsor Heritage Planner's files.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value includes:
- all of the exterior design elements as expressed in the stylized form and detailing; buff-coloured brick cladding in intricate jagged patterns, broken with angular projections and pale, non-figural stained glass windows
- the decorative masonry in the tower which culminates in an aluminium-clad spire topped with a cross of the same material
- the complementary two-storey rectory of the same design and materials, with a gable roof, three-sided brick portico on the east facade flanked by sets of three narrow windows, and double hung six over six upper windows with intricate brick surrounds
- such distinctive features of the elliptical-shaped sanctuary as the overall design with clusters of pews radiating on three axes from the high altar, non-figural stained, leaded glass windows that give prominence to the altars as well as providing light, cruciform clerestory windows, decorative iron grille in a Calvary Cross pattern which separates the Winter Chapel from the nave, pillars with segmental columns that taper from top to bottom, unique central ceiling light fixtures, and fine oak woodwork.