Cathedral Church of Saint Paul
Location Name: Cathedral Church of Saint Paul (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Episcopal)
Year Completed: 1908
Architect(s): Ralph A. Cram
Saint Paul’s history dates back to 1824, making it the oldest Protestant congregation in the State of Michigan. As Detroit’s first Episcopal church, Saint Paul’s was instrumental in the 1832 organization of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan. Saint Paul’s first home was located in the heart of Downtown (where One Detroit Center is today), about two miles down Woodward from its present location. The parish moved to a new structure at the corner of Congress and Shelby Streets in 1851, where it remained until the current structure was finished in 1908.
Architect Ralph Adams Cram designed the current structure in the fourteenth century English Gothic style. The lack of a steel superstructure required that the limestone walls be able to support the massive weight of the church as well as a bell tower that was intended, but never built. The massive stone structure's interior is dominated by heavy walls and columns, allowing less natural light inside than most steel-frame churches. In 1912, Saint Paul’s became the Episcopal Cathedral for the Diocese of Michigan and has remained so ever since.
In addition to Saint Paul’s history as one of Detroit’s earliest congregations, the Cathedral was also the site of Henry Ford’s funeral service on 09 April 1947. Over 20,000 mourners are said to have waited in the rain outside the Cathedral during the ceremony. Today Saint Paul’s remains unfinished (no real plans exist to complete the bell tower in the original plans), but with or without this final touch historic Saint Paul’s is surely one of Detroit’s most impressive church buildings.
The Cathedral Church of Saint Paul was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Sources