Encyclopedia Of Detroit

Cathedral Church of St. Paul

In 1824, St. Paul’s Episcopal parish, the first Episcopal congregation in Michigan Territory, built its church on Woodward and Larned Streets. The church moved to its second site in 1851, at the corner of Congress and Shelby Streets.

The current 14th-century English style Gothic building at Warren and Woodward was designed by Ralph Adams Cram and began construction in 1908. The first service was on February 7, 1911, with the formal dedication on May 17th, 1911. The funeral service for Henry Ford, was held at Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Thursday April 9, 1947.

Built on the cruciform plan, the limestone church employs medieval construction techniques, with no supporting steel superstructure. Massive pillars help support the weight of the lead roof.

The Pewabic floor tiles in many colors, sizes and designs, lead to the sanctuary. Joseph Kirchmayer from Germany carved the partition wall behind the altar, altar, pulpit, lectern, seat of the bishop, and dean’s stall from dark oak. The organ is an Austin four-manual, installed in 1921 and rebuilt in 1951.

Twelve sixteenth-century windows, evenly distributed to the left and right of the sanctuary, came from a Spanish cathedral. The upper windows memorialize Old Testament scenes in an abstract design. In the rest of the Cathedral the general scheme for the windows is based on 13th and 14th century French and English glass.



Cathedral Church of St. Paul, c.1965 – 2014.003.435

Cathedral Church of St. Paul Interior Postcard, 1910s – 2012.045.118

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