St. Florian Church

As Detroit spread and prospered during the booming 1920s, its need for more houses of worship grew, too


Published:

1928

As Detroit spread and prospered during the booming 1920s, its need for more houses of worship grew, too. In Hamtramck, then a predominantly Polish-Catholic enclave, St. Florian Church, founded in 1908, became too small to accommodate the burgeoning parish. In 1928, a Gothic-style church on Poland Street was erected, towering above the simple frame houses in the blue-collar neighborhood. Parishioners, most of whom were factory workers, scraped up their savings to build a new, much larger church. Typical of so many houses of worship in immigrant communities, it dwarfed everything around it, its 200-foot-high steeple jutting heavenward. The building’s architectural details are notable on many counts, including the great rose window, and the stained-glass windows in the sanctuary, all representing a Polish saint. This image shows the dedication on Oct. 21, 1928. The edifice was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, who won the American Architect Award for it in 1929. In 1969, the cardinal of Krakow, Poland, Karol Wojtyla, visited the church; nine years later, he became Pope John Paul II. St. Florian was once the second-largest parish in metro Detroit, but like so many churches and schools in aging neighborhoods, its congregation shrank, forcing the closure first of the high school and then the grade school. Interim Detroit Mayor Kenneth Cockrel Jr. is a 1983 grad. However, the church remains open and, although the worshippers are more ethnically diverse than they were in the ’20s, St. Florian (who is the patron saint of firefighters) continues to offer Masses in both Polish and English. This month, St. Florian celebrates its centennial with an 11 a.m. Mass on Nov. 23.

Archive »Related Content

Still in Session

Former Detroit bad boy Judge Greg Mathis is still going strong after 15 seasons of reality TV

Such Great Heights

Local folk musician’s new video chronicles an intense yearlong journey

Global Road Trip

Detroit Lions fans plan for a very early tailgate party

Home Field Advantage

Gridiron Glory football exhibit hits the Henry Ford

The Way It Was - The Michigan Theatre

Most Popular

  1. Milford Craft Beer Week
    Raise your glass to local brews during the week of festivities
  2. Recap of the U.P. Fall Beer Fest: From Pale Ales to Pastie Beers
  3. 2014 Top Docs: Transforming Medicine
    The list containing the winners of our 15th annual Top Docs survey and accompanying medical stories.
  4. Ours and Theirs: Lake Michigan Shore
    Southwestern Michigan winemakers, winery owners weigh in on ‘must-try’ wines
  5. 10th Annual Harvest Moon Celebration Is Serving Up Michigan Beer
    Downtown Farmington hosts the Harvest Moon Celebration Sept. 18-20.
  6. Autumn Appeal
    Taking advantage of Michigan’s huge apple harvest with a bushel basket full of recipes
  7. Hour Detroit’s Best Dressed Celebration 2014
  8. Movin' On Up
    Southfield bachelor renovates outdated condo to create a high-rise home for his art collection...
  9. Top of their League
    Distinct and carefully done Italian food makes the reviving Corktown neighborhood’s Ottava Via...
  10. Floating Over Fall
    Michigan’s autumn colors dazzle from any angle,but a breezy hot air balloon flight offers a...