Best Derelict Buildings to See in Detroit Before They Crumble

Detroit - Michigan - Buildings - Historic
Detroit - Michigan - Buildings - Historic

Detroit, Michigan filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and, since then, is steadily revitalizing. And yet, though it was once known as the wealthiest city in the nation, Detroit is still littered with the bones of a bygone era. 

There is a lot of history in these derelict buildings that still stand, reminding us of how the mighty can fall. We’re going to tell you about some of them and how you might still get a chance to see them before it’s too late. So, let’s check out the Best Derelict Buildings to See in Detroit Before They Crumble. 

St. Agnes Church 

The St Agnes Church, which still stands at 7601 Rosa Parks Blvd, was once a gothic bastion for the community it served. This thriving cathedral was also home to its own girl’s high school. At the time the cathedral was built there was yet only a handful of homes in the area. The church and the community it served eventually thrived throughout the 20th century. 

Civil unrest in the 60s saw most of the buildings surrounding the cathedral burned to the ground. However, the cathedral remained unharmed. By 1986, 167 families still worshiped there, but it was, unfortunately, not enough to cover the operating cost of managing such a large church.  

The church and school never recovered from the riots of 1967 and the remaining parishioners were ultimately moved to other churches. The building that now stands where the great cathedral once flourished is now a pale memory of what it was. Yet, it is still quite a thing to experience. 

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Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church 

The Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church located at 8501 Woodward Avenue in Detroit was built in 1911 in Gothic Revival style. For a time, the church flourished but, as parishioners began leaving Detroit for the suburbs in the 1950s the old church struggled. It had fewer than 1000 members in 1961 dwindling to only 404 by 1971. 

Today the architecturally beautiful facade still stands and is listed in the US National Registry of Historic Places. Though crumbling and broken the structure is still an awe-inspiring, albeit sad, remnant of  Detroit.

Detroit - Michigan - Buildings - Historic

The King Solomon Baptist Church Building 

Sitting at 6100 14th Street the building that housed the King Solomon Baptist Church in the 50s has some very old bones. When it opened in 1917 it was known as the Fourteenth Avenue Baptist Church. Around that time the congregation consisted of only white southerners who moved to Detroit seeking employment.  

The church was pastored for 16 years but then-controversial fundamentalist preacher and anti-communist J Frank Norris. When acting pastor from 1950 – 1970 George Beauchamp Vick and other parishioners became disillusioned with the direction Norris was taking the church Vick replaced him and relocated the white church to Grand River Ave. 

The 6100 14th Street location became an important Civil Rights Movement. The storied building served as the location of Malcolm X’s influential 1963 “Message to the Grass Roots” address. Numerous guests, including Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph D. Abernathy, and Benjamin Mays, also spoke there. Sadly, the building is now in disarray and crumbling. However, this is a must-see for fans of Civil Rights history.  

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