St. Peter Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church

St. Peter Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church

At the corner of Longworth and Mullane Streets two blocks west of
Springwells in the Delray section of Detroit

This is the second of three Lithuanian parishes established by the Catholic diocese of Detroit. Migrants from Lithuania first arrived in Detroit in the 1870s, but the flow was small until the vehicle industry started providing numerous jobs in the first decade of the Twentieth Century. In 1908, St. George parish was established to serve Lithuanian Catholics living near the Detroit-Hamtramck border. Population grew rapidly in the Delray area, so in 1920, St. Peter’s parish was founded by the Reverend George Juanita’s for Lithuanians. They first held services in nearby Holy Cross Hungarian Catholic Church, but by 1921, had raised funds to build the small structure that you see.

I have not seen nor photographed all of the Catholic churches built in Detroit as the city came of age as the nation’s leading industrial metropolis, but St. Peter’s is the most modest Catholic church I recall in the Motor City. Many parishes apparently first put up a humble building similar to one pictured here, but then their congregations grew and funds were available to build the architecturally impressive churches found throughout Detroit. Immigration from Lithuanian was terminated by federal policy in 1924, and then in 1940, the diocese founded St. Anthony’s parish close by on 24th street. As a result, the number of families enrolled at St. Peter’s never went above 250. Immediately after World War II, some Lithuanians came to the United States as displaced persons, but with the descent of the Iron Curtain, this migration stopped. Suburbanization and the absence of immigration doomed this ethnic parish. When the last pastor, Father Casimir Burkus, retired in 1995, the parish was closed. The building was taken over by All Saints parish and now serves as a neighborhood social service center. You will find an attractive, if small, park just across the street from St. Peter’s, providing a playground for children.

Architect: Unknown
Architect style: Humble style frame church
Date of Construction: 1921
Use in 2005: This is the All Saints Community Center: a neighborhood social service
center linked to the nearby All Saints Church
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: Not listed
National Register of Historic Places: Not listed
Photograph: Ren Farley; December 29, 2006
Description prepared: January, 2006

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