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St. Mary's Catholic Church (Massillon, Ohio) facts for kids

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St. Mary's Catholic Church
Saint-Mary-Parish-of-Massillon.jpg
Front of the church
Location 206 Cherry Rd., NE, Massillon, Ohio
Area Less than 1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built 1876 (1876)
Architect Leon Beaver
Architectural style Gothic Revival
NRHP reference No. 79001952
Added to NRHP April 16, 1979

St. Mary's Catholic Church is a historic Catholic church building in the city of Massillon, Ohio, United States. Constructed in 1876 for a congregation composed largely of European immigrants, it has been named a historic site.

The origins of St. Mary parish lie among numerous Germans and Irish who settled in Massillon in its early years and built a small house of worship on Cherry Road in the 1840s. This building stood until 1875, when it was destroyed so that the present church might occupy its location; it was built in 1876. The designer was Leon Beaver, a Dayton architect. He was assisted in design and in stonecarving by Massillon resident John Verment, who later designed St. Joseph's Catholic Church elsewhere in Massillon.

Built primarily of sandstone, St. Mary's is a high Gothic Revival structure with a facade of two nearly identical towers and a Latin cross floor plan. The entire building measures 185 feet (56 m) from north to south and 85 feet (26 m) on the sides. Sculptures are placed in small alcoves on the second stories of the towers and at the peak of the front gable, while windows and belfries occupy the higher stories of the towers. The main entrance comprises three adjacent portals underneath a large rose window at the center of the facade. Both the buttresses and the corners of the towers rise to decorative finials, while a large cross crowns the front gable.

In addition to its usual functions as a parish church, St. Mary's houses a shrine to St. Dymphna, a mediaeval Irish virgin martyr, although the shrine needed a complete reconstruction after being destroyed in a 2015 fire. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in early 1979, qualifying because of its historically significant architecture. It is one of four Massillon churches with this designation, along with First Methodist Church, John Verment's St. Joseph's Catholic Church, and St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. The parish remains an active part of the Diocese of Youngstown.

On August 4, 2015, a fire broke out in the church, ultimately destroying a baptistery and a shrine. The structure of the building survived, but heavy smoke caused much destruction. After closing for cleaning and restoration, St. Mary's reopened on December 25, 2016.

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