text by Jim Tye
1925 --Sophie Gawel's Communion Day St. Hedwig's Church Matuszewicz Studio 5611 Michigan Avenue
Photo Courtesy of Bob Postula
By 1878, with the growth of industry gradually expanding
to the westside of Detroit, another Polish settlement was organized.
It extended from Twentieth to Twenty-third Streets. In 1882, this
colony built a church on Twenty third and Myrtle Streets, by the name of
St. Casimir's (an earlier attempt to establish a church on the westside in
the 12th Ward, in 1876, was unsuccessful.. By 1890, the parish had
grown so much in numbers that a new church was built, modeled after St.
Peter's basilica in Rome. This imposing edifice, long a
Detroit westside landmark, was torn down in the early
The rapid growth of the Polish settlement accounted for the rise of
several schools in the west side Polish settlement: St. Casimir's in
1883, St. Francis d'Assisi in 1892, St.
Hedwig's in 1903 and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1913.
Between 1900 and 1914, the steadily increasing Polish immigration led
to the formation of St. John Cantius in 1902, St. Hedwig in 1903
(the present church was designed by Architect Harry Rill in 1915), and the
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in 1912.
Saint Hedwig's Church 1956 ~~Photo Courtesy of Adam R. Lis
St. Casimir, Corner 23rd and Myrtle Streets
|The early westside Polonians held their
meetings, assemblies and various receptions at the West Side Dom Polski
(designed by Architect Joseph Gwizdowski in 1915), and at the Polish
Falcon's Hall at 4130 Junction (built in 1910). Unfortunately, this
building was lost to a fire several years ago.
WEBMASTER'S NOTE: Many of the old residents of this neighborhood worked at the Ford Motor Company plant on Michigan Avenue. These men would take the Michigan Avenue Streetcar to work each day.
Adrian Daily Telegram
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