“Anywhere but here…”
I have many digital pics about great catholic churches of Detroit. I have many interior and exterior pics of mostly Polish Catholic Churches… St. Albertus, Sweetest Heart of Mary, St. Johosopath, St. Stans, St. Hyacynth, St. Andrews (the copper top church). St. Francis d’Assisi, St. Hedwig, Holy Redemeer, St. John Cantius (DelRay), St. John Bolermo, St. Boneventure, St. Agness,(in the LaSalle Dist.)…. and perhaps a few more.
I also have the Hiedelberg Project and a few extra points of interest, especially the Ford Piquette Ave, inside and out.
I got them over the past few years, mostly on Sundays, when the churches were sure to be open.
If you want, I can send you them to you in the mail
on CD’s Feel free to select what you want and load them on your site. Perhaps have an extended churches section. You may also copyright them as your own on your website. Would be just neat to get them out in the public domain.
Let me know by e-mail if you are interested.
By the way, I heard of you in a recent on air interview with Warren Pierce WJR 760AM. I wake up every day to Paul W Smith and on weekends with Warren Pierce. I’m a conservative talk show listner all day long, along with Christian radio preachers… it’s like having company.
This will save you a lot of run around time getting them. I used an Olympus SLR Camera. Te pictures are 1280X960 file size, so they should work well.
Dom Polski… I believe that means “Polish House”. But in this case, a place for fellow Poles to hang out, socialize and drink beer (not necessiarly in that order).
There were a lot of Dom Polski Halls around Detroit and in Hamtramck. There was a major beer brewery just kitty/corner to Sweetest Heart of Mary (south and east of SHM). Now of course, the lot is vacant, as is the rest of the area.
There are some vintage aerial photos which shows the tremendous business district that St. Aubin and Canfield Roads once were. Chene Street too.
I believe they appear on some posts on http://www.detroityes.com but I don’t know exactly where.
Perhaps someone can dig around and post the links to the photos
Yeah I don’t speak the language either, but all the older folks in my family did.
Check out this Dom Polski hall on the east side:
Thanks for that site. Never seen it before. Will study it over. As I get older, my windshield is getting smaller, my rearview mirror bigger. I find it all interesting.
Immaculate Conception was at (I believe) at Trombly and Chene (north of the freeway) which was at the entrance of the GM Pole Town Plant. The church was not as grand as the others, but still nice in it’s own way. It was a big stand-off with GM and the City of Detroit… but we know who won that one.
Take note of the “truncated” steeple on St.Alburtus
It used to be a tall, pointed steeple, but it got damaged by a wind storm way back in (I believe) 1914. So they just chopped it down and copper topped it as we see it today.
Next time you go by Sweetest Heart of Mary, looks up (by standing on the front sidewalk) and check out the south steeple, that is the upper wooden part that goes into a point. It has quite a twist in it. Could it be from the same 1914 wind storm? Or perhaps other high winds over the years. The north steeple isn’t that badly twisted.
There was also the minor central steeple at SHM which is now missing (you can see the remaining platform). This was also all wooden which was removed in 1975. It was in very bad shape. Not much money to repair or replace, so they took it down before it fell down. You can see it in older pictures.
I’m Polish too, but can’t speak a word of it. It seems that the Polish factions were very competitive, expressed in their church buildings.
Hey Paul – check out this site:
Much of the history that you are relaying here is documented on this site.
Im polish, so I know all this pretty well.
Some more info about the origins. St. Alburtus is the “Mother Church” of Polish Detroit. The parish started in 1852. The present gothic structure (which seats about 2,500) was built in 1852 by the fifth pastor Fr. Dominic Kolasinski.
He spent too lavisly , which caused a deep faction within the church, He was ousted by then Bishop Borgess and replaced by Fr. Joseph Dombrowski, who was head of the Polish Seminary (Sts. Cyrill and Methodius) located just 2 nlock north on St, Aubin. See some of the history at http://www.stalburtus.org
Fr.Kolasinski and his followers (all excommunicated) made a comback and built a private church, Sweetest Heart of Mary (1892), which also seats 2,500. Rome eventually stepped in to end the conflict.
Read some good info at their website, it is well done http://www.sweetestheartofmary.org.
You will also want to see the inside of these two great buildings. St. Alburtus is closed as a parish, but is run by a historical society. They usually have one mass a month on Sunday morning. See their website and call ahead for when they are open.
Sweetest Heart of Mary is still an operating parish and has some 150-300 in attendance for Sunday morning mass.
By all means visit St Haycinth for Sunday morning mass (10:00AM or so) as it is the only time it’s open. There will be about 20-25 present for Mass.
It is on McDougal and Farnsworth. It is very nice inside. You will like the mural artwork in the back of the church which has a pictorial history of the three Polish Churches. You will like the three ceiling domes (with frescos of Polish saints). Lots of gold leaf paint. Take your camera for interior shots. I have many pics.
The large Felician Sisters Motherhouse used to be directly across the street form St. Alburtus Church.
Also on St. Aubin (just 2 blocks north) was the SS Cyril and Methodius Seminary (1885). They moved it to the Shores of Orchard Lake in 1909…. now it’s the St. Marys Schools, Orchard lake.
There is a flag pole on the corner (St. Aubin St, north of St. Alburtus)) which says “Dombrowski Park”. It’s still there.
You can get into St. Stans on Sunday for their service. The inside is a shadow of it’s former greatness.
Get the book if you can “Polish Detroit and the Kolasanski Affair” by D.B. Orton. It was published about 1970 from the WSU Press. It is an interesting story of the three origional churches … St. Alburtus, Sweetest Heart of Mary and S. Joshephat. You can see how these three great churches are related…. so you will then know why three such large churches were built so close to each other.
Hollywood could not have written a better story on the dynamic and controversial priest (and prince) Fr. Dominic Kolasanski…. builder of St. Alburtus, then the Sweetest Heart of Mary. He and his thousands of followers were excommunicated (in 1890), but they made a big comeback, building SHM.
Just a little more history for you.
Thanks for that great history run down, many people dont realize that this was the original Polish area. The other one in that group is St. Josaphat – now on the service drive of I-75, but used to be on what was Hastings Street.
I have all these churches on the site, except I havent been inside Stani or Hyacinth yet.
This is the outer part of the roots of Polish Detroit
Though St. Stans is occupied (by a gospel church), it is very run down. The rectory is a shamble.
The near-by St. Hyacinth Church (on McDougall) is very well kept up by a band of older Polish parishoners who won’t let it go to hell. Nicely restored inside a few years back.
Also near-by is the 2,500 seat St Alburtus on St. Aubin…. it’s the Mother Church of Polish Detroit (built in 1885). It is somewhat shabby, but is kept going by a small historical society. It’s open once a month for Sunday Mass.
Also near-by is Sweetest Heart of Mary (also Polish built in 1893 or so) which is doing much better. It is open every Sunday for Mass.
It’s a shame that most all of the once tidy small wooden houses which was Polish Detroit are all gone. So are all the business districts…. but time marches on.
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