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St. Joseph was founded by French Canadian settlers, missionaries to the area. They named the settlement after Saint Joseph, patron saint of workers and immigrants. It was incorporated as a village in 1834 and as a city in 1891; it is one of Michigan's older cities west of Detroit on Lake Michigan's south shore that has retained its original town site boundaries since its incorporation (the only other being Benton Harbor). The Stearns Homestead Museum Complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Berrien County, Michigan. The complex includes seven buildings built between 1840–1890: John Stearns House (c. 1850), George W. Stearns House (c .1860), William Ganson Farmhouse( c . 1870) , Charles Houghton Store Building( c . 1880) , James Mott Farmstead Barns & Outbuildings( c 1890) and an early 20th-century garage.