Abandoned St Margaret Mary Catholic Church and School

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Abandoned St Margaret Mary Catholic Church and School | Abandoned St Margaret Mary Church | Abandoned Detroit

This gallery is from my explore of the Abandoned St Margaret Mary Catholic Church and the Abandoned St Margaret Mary Church, these Abandoned Detroit locations have seen significant damage over time from weather, nature, vandals, fire and more.

As Detroit’s population was exploding at the turn of the 20th century, immigrants poured into the city to work in the factories. Many of them were Europeans – and many were Catholic.

The St Margaret Mary Catholic Church was founded in June 1920, with its first service held on the city’s east side in a doctor’s office of all things. The congregation kept growing, and by the end of the year, the congregation had itself its own building at Warren Avenue and Lemay Street. This small structure, with room for 400 souls, was dedicated Dec. 12, 1920. A school followed three years later.

With a decade, St Margaret Mary Catholic Church was bursting at the seams, and it was decided that a new, larger home would be needed for the parish. The firm Donaldson & Meier, which designed a slew of churches for the Detroit Archdiocese, was hired for the job. The new building opened on the site of the old in 1930.

White flight continued to drain the city of its Catholics. The church that was once growing by leaps and bounds was drawing only about 50 people by 1980. Its school was shuttered in 1970. The Archdiocese finally ordered St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church closed in 1982.

In 1984, the Hill of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church bought the church, the parish house and the boarded-up school. The congregation was still using the campus, but someone broke into the church in August 2012 and tried to burn the building down. The damage has left the building unused ever since.

In 1923 a school was built next to the church. St. Margaret Mary School grew along with the church, adding on new wings in 1924 and 1927. By then the parish had outgrown the old sanctuary as well, which was razed and rebuilt in 1930. The new sanctuary, designed by the firm of Donaldson & Meier was dedicated in June of 1931. Father John Koelzer led the church from its founding until 1938, when Monsignor Ferdinand DeCneudt was called. A native of Ghent, Belgium, the appointment of DeCneudt in 1939 is a testament to the large number of Belgians and Italians that had settled in the area, and would continue to support the church for decades to come.

By the 1970’s though, the east side of Detroit was in decline. Hit hard by the loss of factories and industrial jobs, the mostly white Catholic neighborhoods transitioned to mainly black Protestant. The Catholic Church was losing members to the suburbs at a rapid rate, while Baptist congregations were thriving. One of these was Hill of Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, founded in 1980 by Reverend Alvin L. Porties just a few blocks away from St. Margaret Mary on Warren Avenue.

As recently as October of 2011 Hill of Calvary was still holding services in the church building. There were tentative plans to reopen the school as a community center, but the shrinking congregation was struggling to maintain and repair the sanctuary, which had fallen into disrepair. Sometime in late 2011 or early 2012 services were moved into the basement of the parish house in between the church and school. In August of 2012, the parish house and old sanctuary are broken into and badly vandalized. Musical instruments were stolen, and the perpetrators tried to set the church on fire. Police were called but weren’t able to make the scene, suggesting to the church that they file a report online. The parish house was boarded up a few days later, and has not been active since.

– Source: Detroiturbex.com


Abandoned St Margaret Mary Catholic School Gallery


Abandoned St Margaret Mary Catholic Church Gallery

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