Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship & Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations
Two recent publications from Wayne State University press will be presented at Book Beat on Friday, October 26th from 7-8 PM. Photographer Dirk Bakker will present Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship and author/photographer Michael Hodges will present Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations. Both books are lavishly illustrated hardcovers priced at $39.95, suitable for holiday gift-giving.
In Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship,authors Marla O. Collum, Barbara E. Krueger, and the late Dorothy Kostuch profile 37 architecturally and historically significant houses of worship that represent 8 denominations and nearly 150 years of history. The authors focus on Detroit’s most prolific era of church building, the 1850s to the 1930s, in chapters that are arranged chronologically. Entries begin with each building’s founding congregation and trace developments and changes to the present day. Full-color photos by Dirk Bakker bring the interiors and exteriors of these amazing buildings to life, as the authors provide thorough architectural descriptions, pointing out notable carvings, sculptures, stained glass, and other decorative and structural features.
Nearly twenty years in the making, this volume includes many of Detroit’s most well known churches, like Sainte Anne in Corktown, the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Boston-Edison, Saint Florian in Hamtramck, Mariners’ Church on the riverfront, Saint Mary’s in Greektown, and Central United Methodist Church downtown. But the authors also provide glimpses into stunning buildings that are less easily accessible or whose uses have changed—such as the original Temple Beth-El (now the Bonstelle Theater), First Presbyterian Church (now Ecumenical Theological Seminary), and Saint Albertus (now maintained by the Polish American Historical Site Association)—or whose future is uncertain, like Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church (most recently Abyssinian Interdenominational Center, now closed).
Appendices contain information on hundreds of architects, artisans, and crafts-people involved in the construction of the churches, and a map pinpoints their locations around the city of Detroit. Anyone interested in Detroit’s architecture or religious history will be delighted by Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship.
Please note all author royalties for this book have been donated to support the Detroit Historical Society’s Historic Houses of Worship Tours.
“When the city declined and shrank, many places of worship closed or relocated to the suburbs. But even so, there are many open churches today that merit praise as architectural wonders.That’s precisely what a new and important book, Detroit’s Historic Places of Worship (Wayne State University Press, $39.95) accomplishes. Spectacularly photographed by Dirk Bakker, the volume (published this month) also includes informative text on 37 houses of worship. In all, the project took 20 years and a Kickstarter campaign to complete.” -- Jew in the D: Old Temple Beth-El Location on Woodward Featured in New Book
Dirk Bakker is a fine art photographer and former director of visual resources at the Detroit Institute of Arts.
Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stationsis an architectural and historical tour by author and photographer Michael H. Hodges of 31 Michigan depots from Detroit to Iron Mountain to Three Oaks, with stops in Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, Lake Odessa and many others. When the railroad revolutionized passenger travel in the nineteenth century, architects were forced to create from scratch a building to accommodate the train’s sudden centrality in social and civic life. The resulting depots, particularly those built in the glory days from 1890 to 1925, epitomize the era’s optimism and serve as physical anchors to both the past and the surrounding urban fabric. In Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations writer and photographer Michael H. Hodges presents depots ranging from functioning Amtrak stops (Jackson) to converted office buildings (Battle Creek) and spectacular abandoned wrecks (Saginaw and Detroit) to highlight the beauty of these iconic structures and remind readers of the key role architecture and historic preservation play in establishing an area’s sense of place.
Along with his striking contemporary photographs of the stations, Hodges includes historic pictures and postcards, as well as images of “look-alike” depots elsewhere in the state. For each building Hodges provides a short history, a discussion of its architectural style, and an assessment of how the depot fits with the rest of its town or city. Hodges also comments on the condition of the depot and its use today. An introduction summarizes the functional and stylistic evolution of the train station in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and surveys the most important academic works on the subject, while an epilogue considers the role of the railroad depot in creating the American historic-preservation movement.
The railroad station’s decline parallels a decrease in the use of public space generally in American life over the last century. Michigan’s Historic Railroad Stations will reacquaint readers with the building type that once served as the nation’s principal crossroads, and the range of architectural styles it employed both to tame and exalt rail transportation. Readers interested in Michigan railroad history as well as historic preservation will not want to miss this handsome volume.