St. Florian Church

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



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

The Way it Was

A Cut Above

Still using the same artificial tree from 10 years ago? Branch out by choosing a fresh evergreen at one of these Michigan farms. These farms also offer various activities, such as visits with Santa for the kids and adult beverages for the parents.

Foresight is 2020

What’s ahead for Detroit five years down the road? Here are some ‘wish lists’ and predictions.

Keeping It Real

Community theater group production aims to spark conversations about police actions and race

Celebración en Suroeste

Southwest Detroit celebrates the traditions of Day of the Dead, honors those who have passed
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Will Drive for Wine
    Grand Rapids festival is a wine lover’s utopia
  2. James Beard Celebrity Chef Dinner Showcases Michigan Talent
    Townsend's Drew Sayes and Damien Yopek as well as Myles Anton from Traverse City represent local...
  3. Savor Detroit Fall 2015
    Hour Detroit's Savor Detroit, a five-night dinner series featuring custom menus developed by the...
  4. The Bold and the Beautiful
    Townhouse Detroit is sleek and snazzy, with its 300-plus seats, dazzling glass atrium, massive...
  5. Raising the Cigar Bar
    Some tobacco shops offer delicious exceptions to Michigan’s smoking ban
  6. The Call of Iron County
    The pull of the IronLine sled dog race is helping a southwest U.P. community gain traction as a...
  7. The Art of Coffee
    With sustainably sourced beans and beautiful presentation of unique brews, owner of Anthology is...
  8. Warming Trend
    Forest Grill’s Nick Janutol spices up a braised lamb shank
  9. 2015 Holiday Gift Guide
    Unwrap the unexpected and unusual from heartwarming stocking stuffers for the little ones to...
  10. Family Affair
    With more than 30 years in the wine business, the Lutfys embark on ambitious undertaking with...