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Monastery and Church of Saint Michael the Archangel facts for kids

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Monastery and Church of Saint Michael the Archangel
Location West Street
Union City, New Jersey
Area 13 acres (5.3 ha)
Built 1875
Architect Keely, Patrick C.; Et al.
Architectural style Second Empire, Italianate
NRHP reference No. 86000418
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP March 6, 1986

The Monastery and Church of Saint Michael the Archangel, known locally as Saint Michael's Monastery Church, is a state and national historic place in Union City, Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Formally opened in 1869 and completed in 1875, the grounds of the complex are bounded West Street and Summit Avenue between 18th and 21st Streets. The small street leading to its front entrance from the east is called Monastery Place. At one time the largest Roman Catholic church in Hudson County, it has since become home to a Presbyterian congregation while part of the grounds are used for housing and education.


In 1861, Passionists began their ministry in Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, and by 1864 had built a monastery in what was then West Hoboken, on a site bounded by West Street and Summit Avenue, between 18th and 21st Streets. and now southern half of Union City. The land for the 12.3-acre site was donated by J. Kerrigan, the owner of Kerrigan Farm, and the namesake of Kerrigan Avenue.

The monastery that was located on the grounds began operating in 1864. The domed church was designed in 1869 by Irish-American architect Patrick Keely. Its cornerstone was laid in 1869, and it was completed in 1875. It opened its doors later that year. Additions to the complex were made in 1914, 1929, and 1944. In 1876, the relics of Saint Benedict were enshrined near the main altar. At one time, the church was the largest Roman Catholic house of worship in Hudson County. The church itself was damaged and rebuilt after a 1934 fire.

In 1980 the monastery closed. In 1981, the entire complex was closed as a result of declining parish enrollments, fewer seminarians in classes and the lack of sufficient finances needed to pay for the site's increasing mounting maintenance costs.

Following a 1984 fire, the owners attempted to sell the property, which at the time was the last undeveloped major parcel of land in Union City, to a commercial developer interested in building a shopping center, but the city blocked this endeavor by rezoning the six-square-block site for single-family residential development. Saint Michael's Parish merged with nearby Saint Joseph's Parish, whose school and church were on the corner of Central Avenue at 14th Street, becoming Saint Joseph and Michael's Parish. In 1986, the complex was placed on both state and national registers of historic places.

In the same year records for St. Michael's and other nearby parishes were microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Also that same year, the monastery and church were later purchased by a 100-member Korean Presbyterian congregation from Palisades Park, and renamed Hudson Presbyterian Church. The surrounding park grounds, which had been used in the past for sports activities by citizens, were sold. The southern portion along 18th Street is now occupied by two condominium buildings and a low-to-moderate income housing complex that replaced the portion of the monastery destroyed by fire in 1994. In 2002 José Martí Middle School (now José Martí Freshman Academy) and the southern branch of the Union City Public Library were built on the grounds of the Monastery site, between 18th and 21st Street and Summit Avenue. They opened in 2004.

A fire on August 19, 1994, destroyed a large portion of the monastery building, though the church was undamaged.

In 2014 Preservation New Jersey (PNJ) added the church, on its "Ten Most Endangered Historic Places in New Jersey" list, due to the deterioration that has begun due to the structure's age, and the difficulty that the congregation has experienced in raising sufficient money to preserve it.

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