Preservation Magazine, Winter 2016

Transitions: Threatened—Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse

In each Transitions section of Preservation magazine, we highlight places of local and national importance that have recently been restored, are currently threatened, have been saved from demolition or neglect, or have been lost. Here's one from Winter 2016.

St. Joseph Motherhouse, Kalamazoo

photo by: Mark Bugnaski/Kalamazoo Gazette

This past April, residents of Kalamazoo, Michigan, discovered that the nuns of the Congregation of St. Joseph were planning to deconstruct an early-20th-century motherhouse at the center of the former campus of Nazareth College, which closed in 1992. The building serves as a residence for about 80 aging nuns, and is costly to heat, cool, and maintain. According to the current plan, it could be taken down as early as the spring of 2017 following the construction of a new assisted living facility adjacent to the existing structure. As of press time, the sisters were searching for a partner to assume management of the building, but according to a newsletter article released to Nazareth College alumni last spring, “if no partnership emerges, then the plan to deconstruct the motherhouse will occur.” A group of alumni have rallied to raise awareness of the structure’s plight.

Katherine Flynn is a former assistant editor at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores, and uncovering the stories behind historic places.


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