Saint Florian Church / Historic District
Saint Florian Church
Saint Florian Parish was founded in 1907 to serve the Detroit area's rapidly expanding Polish Catholic community. By the 1920s Saint Florian was the second largest Catholic parish in Detroit, and it required a larger church. The Reverend John Bonkowski hired Boston architect Ralph Adams Cram to design this building, inspired by the Gothic churches of the Middle Ages. The church's medieval style contrasted with the modern industrial community. Nowakowski and Sons of Hamtramck built the church, and the J.M. Kase Company made the stained glass in its New York Studio. The working-class parishioners sacrificed to build the church. In 1929 American Architect magazine named it the best new church in America.
Saint Florian Historic District
The Saint Florian Historic District is roughly bounded by Holbrook, Joseph Campau, Yemans, and Dequindre Streets. Incorporated as a village in 1901, Hamtramck experienced rapid growth when Eastern European immigrants came to work at nearby Dodge, Ford and Packard automotive plants. The village's population boomed from 3,559 in 1910 to 48,615 in 1920. In the shadow of the magnificent Saint Florian Church, modest houses occupy thirty-foot-wwide lots. Platted in 1909 as Whitney's subdivision, the densely developed neighborhood was built in anticipation of an influx of workers to the Dodge Main factory that opened less than one mile from here in 1910. The district reflects the tightly knit Polish community that first lived here.