St. Curvy

The infamous “St Curvy” church (as it’s referred to by the locals).
Church opened September 13, 1911 and closed in 2005

The cornerstone was cemented into place at a ceremony at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, 1910. The church was erected in 1909-1911. Work proceeded quickly and excitement grew as the congregation continued to sign up new members. The church was dedicated June 25, 1911. The church reported having 742 members. In 1913, the church had grown to 1,325 members. Ten years later, in 1921, the church had 2,204. It was one of the largest Presbyterian congregations in the city of Detroit.

The church’s congregation was made up of “upper middle class”. As the church’s upper middle class families left Detroit for the suburbs and the city’s outskirts, concerns started to arise about whether it would be able to stay afloat. Starting in the 1950s, many whites started leaving for the city’s outlying areas or the suburbs – a trend that increased following the 1967 riot. These ex-Detroiters founded new churches near their new homes.

The church started to struggle with less money and lower membership. In 1951, the church had 1,552 members. By 1961, it had 950. By 1971, its congregation had dwindled down, to only 404 members. More than 8,500 people had been members of the church since it opened. In 1991, the last year it reported membership to the Presbytery, it had 210. While the congregation had dwindled, the cost of running the church had not.

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