Detroit Polonia

100 Years ~~ Early Historical Sites

compiled by Jim Tye

American Car & Foundry Building-- Russell south of the Ford Expressway, building predates 1880. A prime builder of railroad cars and one of the largest employers of the pioneer Poles.

St. Albertus Church, SW corner St. Aubin and Canfield. Designed by architect Henry Engelbert in 1885; pioneer church of Detroit Poles.

St. Albertus School, SW corner St. Aubin and Canfield. Designed by architect Harry Hill in 1916, one of Detroit's largest parochial schools in its day.

Webmasters Note: St. Albertus Church is a Michigan Historic Site.  The historical plaque says: Polish immigrants arrived in Detroit as early as the 1850's, but not until the Reverend Simon Wleczorek founded St. Albertus Roman Catholic Parish in 1872, did their community have a center. A neighborhood, called Wojciechowo, grew around the parish's first church. In 1885 the present Gothic Revival building replaced the original wooden frame structure. Inspired by the Reverend Dominic Kolasinski's concern for Polish traditons, it incorporates twelve lunette panels over the nave arcades, brick detailing, and an octagonal tower common to churches in Poland. Although the community eventually dispersed, St. Albertus Church still stands as a symbol of the first Polish community in Detroit.

Polish Aid Society, now Bray Auto Parts, 5928 Chene, meeting place of the Polish Aid Society from 1955-1961.

Dabrowski Park, SW corner Garfield and St. Aubin, the site of the Polish Seminary founded in Detroit in 1884 and later moved to Orchard Lake in 1909.

Anton Dlugi's House, 4455 Riopelle, oldest part of house antedates 1886. This house was the site of the first services for the Sweetest Heart of Mary parish in 1886 while its pastor, Rev. D. Kolasinski was in North Dakota from 1886-1888.

Dom Polski, Forest and Chene, Joseph G. Kastler architect;built in 1913. Primary meeting and social hall of Detroit Polonia until recently.

Polish Falcons Hall, Nest 79, 4130 Junction, building dates from 1910. Meeting place of Detroit's second oldest Falcon nest.

St. Florian's Church, 2601 Florian, Hamtramck, present church dates from 1926, original parish founded in 1908.

St. Francis Church, Wesson and Buchanan, designed by architects Kastler and Hunter in 1905. It had been one of the largest Polish parishes in the Archdiocese.

Fredro (Harmonia ) Hall, SF corner of Leland and Russell, this building built in 1887 was Detroit's first Polish hall, the site of innumerable meetings and social gatherings.

Fredro Theatre Building, Chene between Fredericks and Kirby, designed in 1913 by architects Norm Feldman and Alfred Scaler, one of Detroit's earliest Polish drama stages.

St. Hedwig Church, Junction and Norton, Harry Rill architect. One of Detroit's finest Polish churches. The same architect designed St. Stanislaus and St. Hyacinth Churches and St. Albertus School Buildings. Parish originates in 1903 while the present church dates from 1915.

St. Josephat Church, NW corner Canfield and Chrysler Freeway. Designed by architects Kastler and Hunter in 1900, this parish dates from 1889. It is one of Polonia's "Canfield Trio".

Joseph Kulwicki Funeral Home, SE corner St. Aubin and Willis, Detroit's oldest Polish Funeral Home established in 1878 at this location. Officiated at the first burial in Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Alex Lemke Building, SW corner St. Aubin and Willis. This building designed in 1893 housed one of Polonia's first businesses, the Lemke Department Store until 1950. The Lemke Family was one of the leading pioneers of Detroit's Polish colony.

Polish Aid Society, now Life and Light Temple, 4654 St. Aubin. Original building was the meeting place of the Polish Aid Society from 1921 to 1922.

Mt. Elliott Cemetery, burial place of many of Detroit's earliest Polish settlers including Rev. Joseph Dabrowski, founder of the Polish Seminary, Rev. J. Maciejewski, first Polish priest and first pastor of St. Alphonsus Church of Dearborn in 1861.

Mt. Olivet Cemetery, burial place of many Polonia notables including John Zynda, founder of the White Eagle Brewery, Thomas Zoltowski, Rev. Francis Mueller and scores of others.

Polish Legion of American Veteran's Post, Norwalk - 2656, this house was the site of Detroit's first Polish Legion of American Veteran's Post in 1921. They have since moved to their present location on Holbrook.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Wyandotte, this parish dating from 1898, is one of the largest parishes in the Archdiocese. Present church was designed in 1915 by architect Harry Rill.

Perrien Park, SE corner Chene and Warren, one of the most notable meeting places of Detroit's early Polonia; site of countless rallies, assemblies, parades.

Polish Consul, 7620 Dexter, site of the Polish Consulate in Detroit from 1943-1947.

Polish Daily News Building, south side of Canfield east of Riopelle. Until destroyed by fire several years ago, this building was the home of the Polish Daily News from 1905 until the 1960's.

Polish Daily Record, 1817-19 Forest, this building housed the Polish Daily Record from 1913-33.

Pol-Art Center, SW corner Jos. Campau and Norwalk, this building designed by architect Joseph Gwizdowski in 1915 as an apartment today houses a variety of enterprises including the offices of the Polish American Congress.

Polish Reading Club, 1456 Junction, this building antedating to 1917 was the site of the Polish Reading Club.

Polish Protestant Church, SE corner Joseph Campau and Hancock, was built in 1901.

Kudronia Hall, now Security Seal Company, 3000 Junction, originally built in 1898 as Kudronia Hall, it was one of the main meeting places of the early West Side Polonia.

Felician Motherhouse, St. Aubin and Canfield, SE corner, the Felician Motherhouse stood on this site from 1882 to 1936. When they moved to Livonia, it was used as the Guardian Angel Home until destroyed by fire in 1969.

St. Stanislaus Church, Medbury and Dubois, parish was started in 1898. Present building was designed by architect Harry Rill in 1913.

Sacred Heart of Mary Cemetery, McNichols and Mound, this is the largest parochial cemetery in the Archdiocese. Founded in 1889, it is the final resting place of Msgr. Grupa and Rev. Dominik Kolasinski.

Sweetest Heart of Mary Church, Russell and Canfield. Parish dates from 1886; present church was designed by architects Spier and Rohns in 1893. Considered one of the finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Detroit. Recently designated State of Michigan Historical Site.

Sweetest Heart of Mary School, Russell and Canfield, building designed by architects Pier and Rohns in 1889 was one of the largest parochial grade and high schools. It was used as the church from 1889 to 1893.

Anthony Konus Hall, now Three V Supermarket, 5507 Chene, this building was designed as Anthony Konus Hall in 1904 and an early meeting place of the Fast Side Polonia.

West Side Dom Polski, 3426 Junction, architect Joseph Gwizdowski designed this community meeting center in 1915. An important assembly place to this day.

International Polish Workers Home, 3014 Yemans, this building housed the International Polish Workers Home from 1919 to 1952.

Zynda Brewery Building, Canfield and Riopelle, this building dating to 1890 was the home of the White Eagle (Zynda) Brewery from 1890 to 1950. Today it is used as a warehouse.

Detroit Savings Bank, Branch 12, Russell and Canfield, designed by Harry Rill in 1913 was one of the major financial institutions of the early East Side Polonia.

White Eagle Cigar Factory, building on Grandy near Warren, once housed the White Eagle Cigar Factory. Detroit's first Polish cigar company was founded in 1889 by I. Wolff.

Witkowski Clothiers, Chene and Adele, NW corner, this building once housed Witkowski Clothiers who were founded in 1916.

Melin and Gutowski Furniture Company, 1531 Canfield, today this building with the sign, "Phillip Drinkhaus Company" is vacant but from the 1890's to the mid 1920's, was the home of the Melin and Gutowski Furniture Company. This was one of the foremost business enterprises of the early Poles.

Wujek Funeral Home, 1414 Canfield, this building was occupied by the Wujek Funeral Home from 1917 to 1953. Previously it had been the photographic studio of Joseph Sowinski from the 1890's to approximately 1915.


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