all who wander are not lost

The whole complex is about six structures including the garage.

This is the school building.

Shattered decorations from the school building cornice, each one gutted to remove its Pewabic tile.

[ corrects this; the tiles and the forms they were pried from were removed from the sanctuary pillars, and shucked out in the courtyard.]

A destroyed wooden interior detail with gothic trefoil.

33 Responses to St. Agnes Church

  • Will somebody please! put the address up…. wtf is everyone’s problem. a mont a month now

  • Does anyone know how to contact the owner, Scott Griffin, to get access to this place?

  • Getting married here? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a very cool idea, but how are they going to pull it off? I mean, trespassing with a small group of people to take photos is probably not that hard, but a bunch of decorations and chairs being hauled in and all the cars parked there might tip people off. Aren’t you guys worried about getting in trouble? I hope it goes well. I’d personally be very afraid of getting in trouble.

  • my daughter is getting married in this beautiful, haunted building this week.
    i find this building to be a beautiful disaster.
    but for one more day, it will be a day of glory for the ruins and they will rise from the ashes.
    detroit has so many beautiful ruins. the day she marries her partner will be a beautiful day amongst a ruin.
    love rises up and lives …… and love always trumps ruin. i can see the beauty in this place.
    grateful and blessed and all the people who knew the church when it was alive and well, you are granted a gift. keep love alive

    keep hope alive

  • I went to St. Agnes from 1st grade to 8th grade grade, 1959 to 1967. I have fonder memories of my elementary school days at St. Agnes than I have of High School. I’ve recently become Facebook friend with a number of St. Agnes Alums from my years there and would love to here from more. I was very saddened to learn of the death of several St. Agnes alumni from the Sheppard family.

  • I attended St Agnes from 1st thru the 12th grades, graduating in 1966. This was a beautiful church and I’m so sorry to see how it’s been destroyed! Yes, it was an all girls school when I attended and the student body got smaller every year because the young ladies left to go to larger mixed schools. But I’m still friends with some of the young ladies I went to high school with. I hope that something can be done with this area to make it better.

  • I went to St. Agnes school from 1942 to 1952 & i’m glad I did. I remember Father Henigan he used to pass out report card to us. The last time I was there was for a memorial mass for Edna Hungerman. She was murdered by Marygrove & was a nun. I went to school with her brother John. My dad. Carl Sobie sang at the church, midnite mass too. I was forunate to have gone there.

  • What a tragedy! Father Henigan who was pastor when the church was built and supervised construction with pride and love whould be saddened at the end of his beautiful church.I grew up, graduated from St. Agnes and was married there. I have many memories. I am deeply saddened.

  • Interesting photos and what a sad state the church building is in. I worked in the Archives of the Archdiocese for many years and got to see alot of the churches in their day.

  • I used to attend mass here as a small child. It used to look like a castle. I still love the building.

  • St John on East Grand Blvd and Immaculate Conception were two churchs in the old neighborhhod that came down for the GM plant. St Stanislaus and St. Albertus were closed, though St. Albertus (the mother church of Poles in Detroit) has a die-hard group of supporters who still maintain it and have an annual Chistmas Eve mass there (even now in 2010). St Hyacinth is nearby on McDougal but I wouldn’t be surprised if it closes in the next year or two/ Sweetest Heart of Mary is still going and, to my thinking, is probably the most beautiful church in Detroit (it certainly has the most magnificent stained glass windows). This is simply the way it is in America……tear down the old and build something new; it’s what keeps our economy going. At some point folks will have to wake-up, but I fear that it still won’t happen in my lifetime.

  • St Agatha/Martyrs of Uganda Chruch was/is at the corner of 12th Street and South La Salle Gardens (aka C.L Franklin Blvd). Yes, Detroit is filled with more and more once beautiful buildings that are now so far into ruin that it makes 95% of them beyond all hope of being restored. I went to St. Stanislaus as a kid when this was still a Polish neighborhood. I still live in Detroit (by choice) but I’m finally to the point where I see that it simply is not ever going to get better. It’s time to bury the dead.

  • Allison – yeah, I missed St Cyril completely as far as photography goes. My family is Polish, so I have always had my eye on St. Stani, and eventually I will go inside there. I have family members who attended that church back in the day, as well as the other original Polish churches in that district.

  • I found one tile that was popped lose and almost intact aside from a chip in the corner, got it right here next to my desk. Mrs dfunk was really surprised to see it when I brought it home, those things are beautiful.

  • Oh, no problem, dfunk, one of my many hobbies is Detroit Catholic Church history. I can go through much of the city and give at least brief histories of the parishes and other random facts.

    Detroit is such a beautiful city, really it is. That’s why I hope that after I take my vows as a sister, I can be back in the city I love so much.

    Too bad you could not go through the old Ss. Cyril and Methodius Church/School monolith, I hear that was a pretty spectacular building.

    One thing about which I am curious is old Saint Stanislaus (aka Our Lady of the Incinerator), I would like to see what the interior looks like. That was a beautiful example of Baroque architecture.

    BTW, if you ever need any Catholicky information, I can see if I can be of some help. I love Church history and Detroit! :D

  • speaking of Gary, yeah…if you want a “ruins garden”, look at what Britain has done. here is Bolton Abbey, which i visited in 1996, and had been bombed out in WWII.

    these walls are self supporting, but for modern american arhcitecture, youll need to do constant maintenance on the parts of the structure you want to keep. it’s not impossible, but it’ll need maintenance

  • stopped by St Agnes today on my way to work at the Fort…helped myself to a couple of the better fragments with the tiles…i even hefted that big 150-lb chunk, lol fuck it.

    one of the ironies here is that St Agnes is the patron saint of rape victims…

  • Yeah nailhed, Gary UMC appears to be getting “sanitized” for who knows what. We went through it this past Sunday and all of the floor areas look like someone has removed a ton of debris. One section of the exterior sanctuary walls has collapsed since my last visit 2 years ago.

    I don’t think the last plan I heard of Gary turning it into a “Ruin Garden” will work. Once the elements work into the interior brickwork, the walls collapse.

  • Archdioceses took out the stained glass, alters, etc. after they sold it to this mystery congregation that basically was active in throwing everything out and then suddenly left the buildings on their own to die.

  • it was awfully intact. the only thing missing was the pews & altar table, etc

    you can also get up into the ‘belfry’ easily enough. and into the attic space above the sanctuary ceiling.

    these were from my first run-thru:

  • Wow Allison, thanks for that background ! Good question about the windows, we’ll have to defer to SNWEB or Nailhed on that, as I am usually very late to the party when it comes to these abandoned places. Not sure how intact the place was the first time Survival Crackas went through.

  • This was actually Saint Agnes Church for much of its history. Then in the late 1980s when the Archdiocese of Detroit was doing dramatic and controversial realigning of urban parishes because of the exodus of Catholics, Saint Agnes was (I think) merged with another area parish and renamed “Martyrs of Uganda.”

    Another bit of Catholicky historicity, Saint Agnes was actually the parish to which one “Radio Priest” Father Charles Coughlin was assigned as an assistant when he was a professor at Assumption College in Windsor.

    You can actually see pictures of the stained glass windows on YouTube. Search the term “Abandoned Church Basilica” and it should be the first one (though it was never elevated to basilica).

    I am curious to know what happened to the stained glass windows as they were wonderful examples of 1920s Art Deco in stained glass.

  • I think they took them outside to smash… maybe they thought they would come out more intact on a soft ground? Either way they could have simply chislef them out but instead they totally ruined the interior… its sad. I got three pieces myself… 2 about half gone, one with a small corner off.

  • Fairly disastrous maybe !

  • Thank you, Dfunk. It’s for sale, listed as “fair” condition. No price…

  • Nailhed – thank GOD you are using IE, or Id have a bunch of red X posts up now – ahaha ! (Im doing that when I have to rush in the morning to do a post without proofing. Usually changing diapers or something..) Yeah, EGrand Methodist isnt really a cathedral, so I guess Agnes was required to fit the bill. I didnt know the thing was there honestly, I just stumbled into it. I saw SNWEBS photos, but didnt realize thats where I was.

    SNWEB – no SHIT ! I saw that pic before but didnt realize I was in the same place. Why did they drag them all into the courtyard ? Must have been less noise than in the sanctuary. I found an almost intact one, was quite happy.

    Marty – Bethany.

  • Location, please? All I got searching was Rosa Parks blvd.

  • arright she’s looking almost ready to be the next Gary City Methodist Church [/sarcasm]

    i guess the Detroit tourism bureau figured we needed to get one of those to attract some more of the parachute-journalism / artfag dollars. s’a budding industry you know, lmao…cant have little upstarts like Gary, IN cornering that market.

    [you got 6 more red X’s btw]

  • terrible beauty.