The Reverend Peter Leonard Brandt arrived from Vincennes, Indiana, in 1856 to establish a congregation among the German Catholics of Indianapolis. The congregation completed St. Mary's, their first church, in 1858. Priests conducted services in Latin and sermons in German and retained Old World traditions. After the neighborhood become commercial, the congregation purchased property at New Jersey Street and Vermont Street. There they built the present church, under construction from 1910 to 1912. Architect Hermann Gaul, a native of Cologne, Germany, designed the church. The design Gaul used for St. Marienkirche took its inspiration from Cologne Cathedral.
Gargoyles decorate the façade of the church at the entry portal and towers. On the north side, a stained-glass window depicts St. Boniface, the saint who converted the Germans to Christianity. On the south side, another window depicts St. Henry, the “church builder.” The interior has many statues and an apse with skylights.