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. Peter Lutheran Church is one of the abandoned buildings.
The St. Peter Lutheran Church on Pierce Street in Detroit was founded in 1878 with 24 members. A small school was built next door around the same time, which was replaced by a larger one in 1912. Due to the outward movement of parishioners to the suburbs, St. Peter merged with St. Thomas at Fisher and Chapin in 1945.
The church and school on Pierce were sold to St. Titus Evangelical Lutheran Church in the 1950’s. Sometime later it was sold again to the Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church, a predominantly black congregation founded in Detroit by George Willie Hurley in 1929, which had outgrown its existing facilities. Gale’s Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology describes the UHSC as “Like other spiritual churches.
UHSC altered traditional Spiritualism by blending Catholic ritual, Holiness preaching, and elements of the folk magic culture or voudou. Hurley also drew upon Ethiopianism, a belief that identified black people (Ethiopians) with the ancient Israelites; astrology; and insights from The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, a channeled book that purports to tell of Jesus’ lost years.”
The UHSC continued to grow through the post-war years, establishing three churches in Detroit and expanding throughout the country. When exactly the church on Pierce closed isn’t clear, but it was vacant and in disrepair for at least several years.
The church steeple was badly damaged by a fire that spread from an abandoned dry-cleaning shop across the street on the night of June 25th, 2012. The church and school were demolished in February of 2013.