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Residence of the Bishop of Great Faith Ministries International Church (John Salley House/Residence of the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Detroit/Bishop Michael J. Gallagher House)

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John Salley House/Residence of the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of Detroit/Bishop Michael J. Gallagher House
1924–1926, Maginnis and Walsh. 19366 Lucerne Dr.

The largest house in Palmer Woods was intended ultimately as the austere and solemn residence of the cardinal of the Archdiocese of Detroit. It replaced the red brick bishop's house built in 1876 on Washington Boulevard ( WN25). This street had been transformed by real estate developers between 1916 and 1930 from a quiet residential street into a thoroughfare of public and commercial buildings and was no longer suitable for the residence of the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in Detroit. Although the neo-Tudor house was first occupied by the bishop, it was designed in the anticipation that Detroit would achieve the status of an archdiocese. The exterior was intended to convey “dignity, without any suggestion of extravagance” or sumptuousness, according to the December 11, 1924, issue of Michigan Catholic. It was planned large enough to accommodate the actual and symbolic needs of the anticipated archdiocese. The house is forty thousand square feet in size and contains more than seventy rooms. The exterior material is variously colored brick trimmed with Briar Hill stone. The symmetrical U-shaped building faces the apex of the angle created by the intersection of Lucerne and Wellesley drives, and the wings on either side of the center section run parallel to these two streets. Bishop Michael J. Gallagher lived in the house from 1926 to 1937. Subsequently Cardinal Edward Mooney and, then, Cardinal John Francis Dearden resided here. In 1989, the archdiocese sold the house. From 1989 to 1995 the house was owned and thoroughly enjoyed by John Salley of the Detroit Pistons basketball team. Salley took his stewardship of the house seriously. Except for minor changes—the altar of the now deconsecrated chapel adjoining the cardinal's second-floor living suite held a wide-screen television and video, the cardinal's throne was removed from the reception room, and reproduction Renaissance paintings replaced with African American art—the house and its original furnishings remained intact. Today the house is owned by the bishop of Great Faith Ministries International Church.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert

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