St. John’s began in Detroit way back in December 1858. This church was dedicated three years later, on Dec. 19, 1861 -- just a few months after the Civil War began.
The building stands on Woodward Avenue at the Fisher Freeway service drive, in what is now the heart of the city’s entertainment district, but back in its early days, the church was out in the country. Before long, this stretch of Woodward would be lined with other churches and dubbed “Piety Hill.”
Today, the church is a baseball’s throw from Comerica Park and has offered that fans “pray here for the Tigers.”
The church was designed by Albert H. Jordan and James Anderson, who was the architect of Detroit’s Old City Hall. The church looks a bit different today than it did originally, thanks to the widening of Woodward. To accommodate this, in 1936, the church was pushed back 50 feet, and its 145-foot Gothic tower was disassembled piece by piece, numbered and then reassembled. On Nov. 29, 1936, the cornerstone was rededicated.