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.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

World-Wise Chickens

What the Wasserman Projects’ permanent art exhibit says about diversity

An Hour With... Ron Carter

2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Detroit Jazz Festival

Back to Black

The Noir City Film Festival is right at home at Detroit’s Redford Theatre

Digging Deep

Composting group Detroit Dirt continues to unearth a wealth of success in the city’s urban farming community and beyond

Dancing in the D

Detroit Dance City Festival pliés back into town
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 2016 Best Dressed List
  2. The Village Market
    The Trattoria inside Plymouth's Cantoro is like a visit to a small Italian town
  3. A New Day for DPS?
    Detroit Public Schools gets a fresh financial start this fall, but some say Michigan lawmakers...
  4. Birth of a Legend
    Cutting to the core of Paul Bunyan's true Great Lakes origins
  5. Designed by Detroit
    From bags to neckties, get to know some of the local fashion scene’s brightest homegrown talents
  6. Hour Detroit and Detroit Home’s Downtown Living Tour 2016
    More than 700 guests attended the first-annual Downtown Living Tour on August 5 and 6 to get a...
  7. Communing With Nature
    Pray among the pines in Hartwick Pines State Park’s log-cabin chapel