[graphic header] Detroit: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service


St. Paul's Cathedral stands today as one of the first and finest examples of the Late Gothic Revival, an architectural style popular in the early years of the 20th century. "Gothic Revival" architecture, imported from England in the 1830s, gave American architects and designers options for building styles that were not based upon the classical symmetry of Greek and Roman architecture. Built in the late 1800s, Detroit's Fort Street Presbyterian Church is an excellent example of the "Victorian Gothic," a style that often borrowed features from Medieval cathedrals. At the turn-of-the century, more and more prospective American architects began attending M.I.T.'s and Columbia's new schools, or traveling to France for training at the Ecole de Beaux Arts. After their training, these architects looked at America's interpretations of Gothic architecture, and found that many buildings didn't ring true historically. Ralph Adams Cram, a leading architect of the time, believed a new type of Gothic architecture should develop from, rather than just copy, Medieval architecture. In 1908, working with his partners in the firm of Cram, Goodhue, and Ferguson, Ralph Adams Cram designed St. Paul's Cathedral -- a major project in his early career. The new building successfully followed the ideals of Cram and his partner Bertram Goodhue's "Neo-Gothic Revival" architecture by attempting to emulate and build upon the spirit and form of Medieval cathedrals. Although Cram's "Neo-Gothic" is now known as the "Late Gothic Revival," St. Paul's Cathedral remains an important landmark in the final stages of America's Gothic styles, and is one of Detroit's architectural treasures.

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul is located at the 4800 block of Woodward Avenue. The building is open to the public.

Cathedral Church of St. Paul Cathedral Church Of St. Paul
Photograph courtesy of the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office

  Ralph Adams Cram, 1900
Photograph by Marceau, courtesy of Hoyle, Doran, and Berry Architects, Boston, Mass.

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