The beautiful architecture of Detroit's most stunning places of worship

One would be hard pressed to find any corner of the Motor City devoid of those towering spires, jutting out into the sky.

Detroit boasts more churches per square mile than any other city in the country, touts the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau. From Polish-Catholic to Protestant to the reemergence of Roman Catholicism as the city’s Hispanic population continues to grow, Detroit’s churches tell a story about how the population’s demographics have changed over the centuries. As some churches fell victim to decay or in some cases, alleged arson, other religious institutions of Detroit’s increasingly diverse population have filled the void.

Even as groups left for the suburbs, religious interest declined, and other groups were forcibly moved for the sake of “urban renewal,” these beautiful architectural institutions remain as testaments to the greatness and resilience that have always defined the Comeback City.

 

Words by Will Feuer

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Sweetest Heart of Mary Church 
4440 Russell St., Detroit 
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

4440 Russell St., Detroit
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city.
Photos by Will Feuer
Sweetest Heart of Mary Church 
4440 Russell St., Detroit 
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

4440 Russell St., Detroit
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city.
Photos by Will Feuer
Sweetest Heart of Mary Church 
4440 Russell St., Detroit 
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

4440 Russell St., Detroit
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city.
Photos by Will Feuer
Sweetest Heart of Mary Church 
4440 Russell St., Detroit 
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church

4440 Russell St., Detroit
The religious history of Detroit’s Polish community is complex and remains hotly disputed. In 1885, the parish of St. Albertus was polarized into two factions. Ultimately, a Father Dominic Hippolytus Kolasiñski was excommunicated. When he left in 1886 for the Dakota Territory, his followers in Detroit founded their own institutions parallel to that of the St. Albertus mainstream. What began as a religious school for the community’s children, soon became the Sweetest Heart of Mary Parish, operating without authorization from the Catholic Church of Detroit. Over the past century, the church did in fact fall into line with the Catholic Church authorities and has since bloomed into one of the most architecturally stunning churches in the city.
Photos by Will Feuer
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament 
9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit 
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit.
Photos by Will Feuer
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament 
9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit 
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit.
Photos by Will Feuer
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament 
9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit 
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament

9844 Woodward Ave., Detroit
Established in 1905 in what was then known as Detroit’s Piety Hill area, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament is one of Michigan’s central religious institutions. In 1937, when Detroit was elevated to archdiocese status with the Vatican, the Most Blessed Sacrament was selected to house the archdiocese, which it still does today. In 1987, when Pope John Paul II visited the US, he spoke before a crowd at the cathedral and spent the night at the adjacent archbishop's residence. It remains a key institution of the politico-religious system of Detroit.
Photos by Will Feuer
Bethel AME 
5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.
As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Bethel AME

5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.

As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies.
Photos by Will Feuer
Bethel AME 
5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.
As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Bethel AME

5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.

As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies.
Photos by Will Feuer
Bethel AME 
5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit 
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.
As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies. 
Photos by Will Feuer

Bethel AME

5050 St. Antoine St., Detroit
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said the most segregated hour of the week in America was Sunday morning. Growing naturally out of American segregation, the African Methodist Episcopal Church movement was founded by a group of former slaves and free black men in 1816. In 1839, the movement reached Detroit when fifty black Detroiters came together to form the Colored Methodist Society, which two years later would join the AME denomination.

As is often the case with black churches in Detroit, Bethel AME has changed location a number of times, often due to so-called urban renewal. In 1974, the church found its current home, three and a half acres on Warren Boulevard. Since its founding, Bethel AME has served not only as the site of religious congregation for its community, but also as a school for black children, a point of assistance for black southern immigrants to Detroit, and has advocated for fair housing and labor policies.
Photos by Will Feuer