This church has served Detroit’s northwest side for nearly a century, but its parish goes back 180 years. Located just north of Grand River Avenue west of Greenfield, St. Mary of Redford Parish has continued to endure while Catholic churches all over the city have closed.
The church’s pastor, Father John Gilmary Cook, invited Albert Kahn to join the St. Mary’s Planning Commission, but the renowned Detroit architect declined. Instead, he suggested the parish turn to architect Ralph Adams Cram of Boston, whose firm Cram & Ferguson were offered and accepted the commission. Cram & Ferguson designed the church from Boston, and hired the Detroit architectural firm of McGrath, Dohmen & Page to be the boots on the ground in Detroit. The firm Talbot Meier served as the general contractor on the project.
Cram was said to take his inspiration for this church from those in southern France, a nod to the early settlers of Redford Township who called France their ancestral home. Ground was broken for the new St. Mary’s on May 1, 1925; the building was dedicated Oct. 12, 1927.