Friday, November 23, 2018

St. Clement Church (Centerline)





St. Clement Parish was established in 1854 and the parish bought land on the southeast corner of Center Line (now VanDyke) and Church St. (now Engleman St.), a few blocks north of 10 Mile Rd. A wooden church and a single-room school were soon built. The church was expanded in 1868 to accommodate a growing congregation.
A watercolor painted in 1870 shows the church and rectory.
At one time, St. Clement parish boundaries stretched from Eight Mile to Fourteen Mile and from Woodward to Lake St. Clair—a total of 90 square miles.
A pen & ink illustration printed in 1875 Atlas Map of Macomb County.


St. Clement Parish continued to grow and laid the cornerstone of a larger edifice was laid on July 8, 1880. The brick church was based on the plans for Detroit's Sacred Heart Church; measuring 136' long, 54' wide, and 100' tall. George Freidhoff, an immigrant from Bavaria, and his uncle, John Freidhoff, did much of the construction. St. Clement Church was dedicated on November 6, 1881 and a new rectory was built in 1896. The first church was eventually razed to make room for a small, brick school and auditorium.

Interior walls and ceiling were covered in frescoes—the creation of a parishioner and plasterer named Lambert Peters. His brother, Antoine Peters, and son-in-law, Peter Guion, also worked as bricklayers and plasterers on the construction of the church.

A convent was soon built and Dominican Sisters taught at the school for decades.

In 1916, there were 182 students at St. Clement School and enrollment quickly rose to 600 students by 1920. A larger, two-story school was soon constructed. It had sixteen classrooms and an auditorium with a capacity for 1,000.

A 1954 aerial view of the second church and schools.

A 1975 aerial view of the current church.


The current church has vaulted ceilings that measure 65' in height. A 130' bell tower stands in front of the church.

The most unique and interesting part of the church's architecture are the four large arches on side, each with stained-glass windows wall-to-wall.





The Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary in niches at each side of the church.






St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families is the result of a series of parish mergers. Two Warren parishes, Ascension (est. 1926) and St. Dorothy (est. 1960), merged in 2007 to form St. Teresa of Avila Parish. St. Teresa of Avila merged with St. Clement in 2012 to form St. Mary, Our Lady Queen of Families. The former Ascension Church is now used by a Baptist congregation.



The former parish school building is now occupied by a non-denominational Christian schoolnearby nursing home bears the name of Fr. Murray, a longtime pastor at St. Clement. The parish maintains a cemetery behind the school. 

More info: parish website
More history: Mike Grobbel + Macomb history + C & G News

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