Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

St. Patrick Senior Center

This building's roots go back to 1862, when St. Patrick Parish was started in response of the stream of Irish Catholics into the Detroit area. The parish built a chapel on Adelaide near John R Street, which was eventually expanded into a church. St. Patrick's became one of Detroit's largest and wealthiest Catholic parishes, although the church was never one of Detroit's largest or most impressive. In 1890, the church was named the cathedral of the diocese and was renamed in honor of Sts. Peter and Paul.

To serve the children of the community, the Sts. Peter and Paul Academy was built on Parsons west of Woodward, which was a few blocks away from the main church due to land scarcity. The academy was designed by local architect Leon Coquard and was considered one of the finest school buildings in the city, and is one of the few Late Victorian school buildings left in Detroit.

The academy opened under the administration of the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When the parish resumed its original title of the Church of St. Patrick in 1938, the high school was renamed “ Immaculata High School.” The name was soon changed to “Girls’ Catholic Central High School,” and the grade school became “St. Patrick’s Grade School.” The schools were closed in 1969 due to the demographic shift in the neighborhood caused by the emigration of people from the city to the suburbs.

From 1973 until the present day, the building served as the St. Patrick Senior Center and according to their website, it is Detroit’s largest health, wellness and activities center for Detroiters over the age of 55.

Last updated 06/04/2023