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Mariners' Church

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1849, Calvin N. Otis; 1955 relocated and remodeled. 170 E. Jefferson Ave.
  • (Photograph by Kathryn Bishop Eckert)

This sturdy Gothic Revival church was originally built near the Detroit River on the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Woodbridge Street as a sailors' mission. It was founded in 1842 when Julia Anderson, widow of an early Detroit military commander, bequeathed land and money to construct a church for seamen sailing the Great Lakes. It was designed by Otis of Buffalo and constructed of Malden and Trenton gray limestone rubble. To make way for the civic center, the church was moved to its current site and remodeled. Along the way it lost the original wooden pinnacles, battlements, and belfry. The square tower was added and the rose window replaced a large Tudor-arched window. Made by J. and R. Lamb Studios, the depiction of a ship filled with the twelve disciples in the Western Rose or Browning Compass Window addresses the mission of the church to serve sailors of the Great Lakes. Every spring Mariners' Church holds a Blessing of the Fleet and in the fall a Great Lakes Memorial Service marking the closing of the shipping season and remembering sailors lost on the lakes. Sailors are remembered in the context of the church's Anglican liturgy.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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