Detroit has been described by some as a ghost town. The city of Detroit has been going through abandonment issues since as early as the 1960s. Around 70,000 buildings, 31,000 homes, and 90,000 vacant lots all abandoned in Detroit. Abandoned St. Thomas Lutheran Church is one of the abandoned buildings.
Detroit has many abandoned factories, plants, hospitals, parks, schools, and churches. Some are famous worldwide, such as the Hoban Foods Warehouse. Others less so, such as Detroit’s Motor Transportation Garage. Below you will find the history and share photos of abandoned St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Detroit.
The History of Abandoned St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Detroit
St. Thomas Lutheran Church was founded in 1908 with 15 members, mostly German immigrants who were settling on the east side of Detroit. A parish school was built next to the church in 1911. When the church outgrew its old quarters, the church was demolished and a new one was built in 1921.
The church peaked in the 1930s and then started to lose members as residents moved out of the neighborhood and into the suburbs. In 1945 St. Thomas merged with another Lutheran church, St. Peter on Chene Street, and the combined church moved into the St. Thomas building. In 1959, St. Thomas — St. Peter built a new church in the suburb of East Detroit (today Eastpointe), but continued to hold services at both locations until 1968 when the St. Thomas building was closed and sold to another congregation.
At some point in the 1980’s or 90’s the parish school was demolished, leaving an empty lot next to the church. The most recent occupant appears to be Greater Church by Christ Jesus, from 1997 to 2002 or 2003. Exactly how long the church was vacant isn’t clear, but in 2012 it was bought by a new congregation.
Several years of vacancy left the building with moderate damage, and the stained glass window facing Chapin Street was completely removed. Today “Pastor Mike” is carrying out renovations on the church, which have included new doors and windows, interior cleanup, and repairs to the roof. His plan is to use the building as a home for a new church, though at the time of this writing there is still a lot of work to be done.