Old Saint Mary's Catholic Church
Location Name: Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Catholic)
Year Completed: 1885
Architect(s): Peter Dederichs
Saint Mary’s parish was founded in 1834 by Father Martin Kundig to accommodate the needs of German speaking Catholics in Detroit. Formally known as the Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parish’s first church was consecrated in 1841. The land on which the church was built was sold by Antoine Beaubien for one dollar. Over forty years later, the decision was made to build a new church (the current structure) on the same site.
Architect Peter Dederichs was chosen to design the new building. Completed in 1885, the red brick Romanesque church was built 176 feet long, with the nave reaching interior heights up to ninety feet. The sanctuary is built around ten massive polished granite columns, originally intended for the Michigan State Capitol Building in Lansing but were never used. The total construction costs came to just over $81,000.
While time has changed the composition of Old Saint Mary’s neighborhood, the church remains much as it did over one hundred years ago. Today the church is surrounded by the Greektown district and the Greektown Casino, but Old Saint Mary’s continues to add historic character to a mostly modernized area.
Old Saint Mary’s Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.Sources