Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 160 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, April 24, 2023

Past and Present in the neighborhood - Rector's Rambling for April 30, 2023


God willing, in the next 18 months or so, they will be breaking ground for the new building that will be located in what is now our side parking lot.

We have entered into a lease agreement for the land, and in addition to lease payments, we have unlimited parking in the new garage that was build behind the ministry center—950 spaces!  Of course, we have to be sure we schedule things around Tigers and Lions games...which is something we do now anyway.

For more than 25 years we have gotten used to the wide open view down Woodward because of the surface parking lots in front of the stadium.  When St. John’s was built on land that was an apple orchard in the 1850s, the area was as wide open, but by the 1880s and through the 1980’s  Woodward became a very busy commercial block!  St. John’s was landlocked by a warehouse where our lot is now, and further down stood the Wolverine Hotel, Century and Gem Theatres (moved over to Madison Street in the 1990s), and many other commercial buildings. 

In the 1930’s Woodward was widened and buildings demolished on our side of the block (including the warehouse next door to us) but other commercial buildings replaced them until demolition for the building of Comerica Park.

The black and white picture is from 1931 looking up Woodward from Grand Circus Park.  You can hardly even see our bell tower behind the warehouse!  The initial designs of the new building that will be built in our lot will be lower than the warehouse and set back further from Woodward so that St. John’s will continue to be visible from up and down the street. 

The neighborhood continues to change...but St. John’s doesn’t change in her adherence to the faith!