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Cathedral of Saint Paul

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4800 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48201, Michigan, USA 48201
Year Built/Circa: 1908
Current Use: Episcopal Church
Current Owner: Diocese of Michigan
Vacancy: Occupied
Historic Significance: English Gothic Stained Glass: Many artists including Donna Swanson Taylor, the J and R. Lamb Company from New Jersey; Heaton, Butler and Bayne of London; Charles J. Connick of Boston and the Franz Mayer Company of Munich.
Architect Builder Engineer: Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson

This large Gothic church is home to the oldest Episcopalian parish in Michigan—founded in 1824—and is the Cathedral for the Episcopal diocese of Michigan. Following Thomas Jefferson’s suggestions, many of the nation’s most impressive public buildings of the 19th century borrowed heavily from the classical architecture of Greece and Rome. However, a very different tradition began to influence US architecture in the middle of the 19th century as designers and architects began to borrow from the Gothic tradition. Ralph Adams Cram designed this structure. Apparently, he and a number of other architects who were trained at MIT, Columbia or at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris felt that it was important to incorporate original Gothic designs from the medieval period. Churches such as Fort Street Presbyterian, designed by Albert Jordan in the 1850s, were Gothic in style, but were more nearly Victorian Gothic rather than the original Gothic style. Cram was a devote medievalist who saw great value in using the Gothic design of the 14th and 15th centuries for churches built in the 20th. To him, it illustrated the continuity of Christianity. For St. Paul’s Cathedral, he designed this English Gothic style church with a tall, narrow gabled façade, including an impressive recessed entrance above which you find a classical English Gothic rose window. Cram designed a large tower for this church at the crossing of the wings. You can clearly see the base of this tower that has yet to be built. The entire perspective of this beautiful church will be substantially altered should someone donate monies to complete the design for this structure.


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