Historic Detroit

Cathedral of St. Paul

St. Paul’s congregation dates back to 1824, when Territorial Governor Lewis Cass granted a charter for the first Episcopal congregation in the Northwest Territory.

This cathedral on Woodward Avenue and Hancock Street is the third home of this congregation, which dates back to 1824.

Though it was dedicated May 17, 1911, its first service was held three months earlier, on Feb. 7. It was designed by Ralph Adams Cram of Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, who built the Neo Gothic-style church the medieval way: without steel.

A tower was proposed to be built on top of the church but was never built.

“This cathedral stands on the most crowded of thoroughfares in the heart of a great city,” said the Very Rev. Samuel S. Marquis, the cathedral’s first dean. “It is the symbol of the spiritual in the midst of all that is material.”

As the cathedral, St. Paul’s is considered the mother church for the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan, and serves as the campus for that organization.