The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament sits on the east side of Woodward Avenue, fairly far north from downtown in a largely residential area. While the above aerial image accurately captures that there is some demolition and abandonment around the cathedral, when you’re on the ground you see there are actually several historic districts with stately mansions located in the shadow of the stately church.
The cathedral itself is quite beautiful and huge, befitting a city that at the time it was built ranked as one of the largest in the United States.
Designed by Henry A. Walsh of Cleveland, the church was completed in 1915. It did not actually become a cathedral until the Diocese of Detroit was elevated to an Archdiocese in 1938.
The architecture is typical of the early Twentieth Century in that it reflects more of the English school of the Gothic Revival, as the French and German, which had dominated the United States in the Nineteenth Century, faded in influence.
The front westwork is relatively restrained and has minimal ornamentation.
Back around on the side, looking up at the nave, we see similar engaged buttresses that we examined recently in Gary and later in Toledo. Clearly there is an interior steel support structure since there is no reliance on flying buttresses.
The gardens are planted with beautiful flowers, creating a feeling of tranquility around the cathedral.
Note that the southern transept is longer than the northern one; we will see when we go inside that there is an additional chapel in the interior.
A tall flèche sits atop the crossing.