Saint Florian Catholic Church
Location Name: Saint Florian Catholic Church (Hamtramck, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Catholic)
Year Completed: 1928
Architect(s): Ralph A. Cram
Saint Florian Parish was founded in 1907 to serve Detroit’s booming Polish population. The first church structure was completed in 1909 and served the influx of Polish immigrants coming to the Detroit area for work in the automotive industry. Quickly outgrown, the parish raised $500,000 to build a new cathedral-like church. Architect Ralph Adams Cram was chosen to build the massive English Gothic structure. Using steel-frame construction, Cram was able to design a large sanctuary without the need for incredibly thick stone walls to support the weight of the building. This allowed for incredible height and an ample number of windows to let light into the church.
The new church was dedicated on 21 October 1928 and featured a nearly 200-foot spire (making it the tallest structure in the City of Hamtramck today). The church also retains its original 1928 Austin organ, Opus 1526. Cram’s design for Saint Florian was celebrated in the architectural world and it won the American Architect Award in 1929. Widely considered to be one of Cram’s finest works, Saint Florian dominates the Hamtramck landscape and draws the attention of nearly all who pass through the city.
Saint Florian was featured in the 1998 film Polish Wedding, but is probably best remembered by the 1969 visit of the Bishop of Krakow, Cardinal Wojtyla. The Polish Cardinal celebrated mass at Saint Florian during his visit, and went on to be elected Pope in 1978. Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) is remembered fondly in Hamtramck today, especially in Hamtramck and at Saint Florian church.
Saint Florian Catholic Church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984.Sources