Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Trinity Episcopal Church - Photos Decor Detail

Gargoyles and grotesques are carved figures and faces usually found on churches like Trinity Episcopal Church and other old stone buildings.

Gargoyles not only protect the building from temperamental weather, by preventing water from dripping to close to the walls. They also provide the site with symbolic protection.

Trinity Episcopal Church in Detroit has a stunning variety of faces and figures, with more than 150 exterior stone carvings of all sorts.

Often frightening in some aspects, they represent monsters inspired by fantastic bestiaries, wild or domestic beasts, and even mankind.

These monsters keep demons and evil forces away from the sacred walls that protect the community of churchgoers, by scaring them away.

Gargoyles also have a purifying role, since they digest unclean water and wastewater and keep it away from the walls.

Most of Trinity's stone carvings are based on fourteenth and fifteenth-century English models but this gargoyle is believed to be a portrait of the building foreman.

The Gargoyles and Grotesques of Trinity Episcopal Church watch over the building

Portraits of King Richard II and John Wycliffe can be seen on the east entrance

Richard II ruled England from 1377 to 1399, the time period that Trinity Episcopal Church is meant to evoke.

John Wycliffe is known to be the first person to translate the bible into English.

More than a hundred years of air pollution and weather put severe damage on some of the figures. Here a wolf in a clerical robes.

Four out of eight faces that ring the top of the church's tower