Monday, October 13, 2008

The Poletown Struggle for Survival against "the powers that be".

On one side you had General Motors, political leaders of Detroit and Hamtramck including Mayor Coleman A. Young and the City Council of Detroit and the City of Hamtramck with the exception being City Council member Kenneth Cockrel, the Archdiocese of Detroit including Cardinal John F. Deardon with the whole power of the Catholic Church behind him and sorted and various business interests and people of fear that saw their tax base eroding.

On the other side you had the Poletown neighborhood with Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church "the beacon of resistance" fighting against the destruction of this community. The church’s spiritual leader The Reverend Joseph Karasiewicz a lifelong resident of the Poletown neighborhood with roots in St. Hyacinth Polish Roman Catholic Church his childhood parish and a graduate of St. Mary’s Polish Seminary with Fr. Joe’s flock following him in his struggle for their survival.

It was money, power and business interests against people and faith the typical David and Goliath scenario. What the Bible teaches us is to not lose faith in the face of massive odds and opposition. What else can an institution of faith do but to lead us on with faith and hope? These are wonderful qualities and often times in life all we have left is faith and hope but what the Bible doesn’t tell us is that Goliath wins over David much more than David wins over Goliath. But, we have to strive for that 1 in 1,000 chance to defeat Goliath in our titanic struggle with the forces of opposition in our world.

So, Fr. Joe and his parishioners meet all the powers mentioned above on the plains of their Sokho, Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church in Poletown in a battle for their very existence. Unfortunately, there was no Biblical prophecy driving the force of this resistance. Awesome and overwhelming forces crushed the people and the church right where they stood after a valiant struggle by some with Fr. Joseph Karasiewicz pouring his heart and soul into the struggle for the survival of his parish and parishioners even against the orders of the Detroit Archdiocese under the auspices of Cardinal John F. Deardon that was shocked at the disobedience of one of his priests.

At the expense of being a cynic we know what the outcome was even before it was an outcome but there is much in history books, newspapers and the internet describing the demise and fall of this kind struggle. Besides, it is too sad to discuss at any length, now. But, what I want to share with you are some photos of Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church that might elicit some beautiful and tender memories of something so good and intransient in our collective and individual memories.

Click on the thumbnails and a larger image will come up so you can look at the detail in the photos of the inside, outside and the Memorial to Polish Christianity of Immaculate Conception Polish Roman Catholic Church.

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

St. Albert's Roman Catholic Church.

St. Albert's Roman Catholic Church serving a Polish and Slavic Community, on St. Aubin Ave. and Fremont St. White brick church with plain glass windows and tall steeple topped with a cross. This was the precursor to St. Albertus Polish Roman Catholic Church. Ca. 1880

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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Dom Polski: Dance Hall Days of Detroit's Polonia" deleted from the DY Forum.

The reason I am posting these deleted posts from the, "Dom Polski: Dance Hall Days of Detroit's Polonia" thread of the DY Forum was to follow the lead of one of the participants of the DY Forum with Member User Name of Townonenorth that said,
"While it's all well and good to complain, this is not really what this little piece of Polish history should be about. I intend to erase my posts on this subject, as it has no bearing on the topic. I suggest that you do the same. As these are HOF threads I'd hate to have them ruined."
I agreed with the sentiment and the reasoning for why we should both remove our posts but I thought what had to say in response to an earlier post by DY Forum with Member Username: Isle_of_fun that said,
"Lowell & Mortalman Chene st. growing up in that area was really great. does anyone remember Felician Academy connected to St. Albertus in the later years or Chene street summer day camp ? here are some web sites that are of great interest.

http://creativegene.blogspot.c om/2006/10/update-on-chene-str eet-project.html eases/2004/Dec04/library/index

Also as of 2004 or 05 the people removed from the Immaculate Conception area because of eminent domain stuff won their lawsuit
best to you all"

I considered what I said to be important enough for me to move it from the DY Forum to the blog, DETROIT'SOUL,

Post 1 Deleted from DY

Let me say this about that. What we are talking about here is the difference between commercially collected data to be used for books, academic purposes and institutions, individuals or organizations versus information that will be made readily available to the average person that has no more agenda than to seek the knowledge for their own enjoyment whatever that is. My much larger fear is that there are people in the background or in the above mentioned audiences that are trying to figure out how to corral the internet and make it a pay-for-view venue thereby allowing only those people that have financial resources to access the information. It’s the same principle at work that is the forces that come in and gentrify neighborhoods and push out the people that made the neighborhoods what they had become. In the end it’s all about business and money. It’s not that I have anything against business or money it’s just that people that are in pursuit of those two items seem to never have a happy medium. Then we end of with greed and growth taking over and it never ends.

A real life example is the difference between what and how Marian Krzyzowski goes about collecting and disseminating his information concerning the so called Chene Street Project, and make no mistakes just his attitude when he made his presentation where he took no questions (Above it all and who are you to question me at all!) this is his information, leads one to believe that he is dealing with collective knowledge in a commercial manner i.e. future book and interactive website versus Lowell Boileau and the DY Forum and other parts of the website. Lowell does own it because he pays for it but if you follow the simple rules of courtesy you can be a part of the Forum and the information gathered, and there is a lot of it, is available to not only other Forumers but anyone that wants to come to the site and pursue or do research. And, he meaning, Lowell, makes the information he gathers in an egalitarian manner for all to enjoy. I may have been awkward in the way I presented my thoughts but I think you get the spirit of what I am saying. These are my opinions and concerns.

"Post 2 Deleted from DY

"Let me say this about that, again. What is happening with this information that Marian Krzyzowsk, and, by the way Townonenorth is exactly correct because I remember when the request went out for information many years ago, also, and there never was any mention of a book, commercial endeavor or academic spin on this so called Chene Project. I was led to believe that this was some kind of genealogical project that would be made available to anyone through one of the Polish Cultural organizations. I didn’t trust it then and I certainly don’t trust it, now.

I have run into some of the best and most enlightened researchers on the DetroitYes Forum that give of their time and effort freely with no thought of any kind of compensation other than what satisfaction they get out of making a contribution to something that is like a family, DY! We don’t always get along and we certainly don’t see eye –to-eye on things but together we make up a tapestry of community called DY which I am proud to be a small part of. And, what I really like and love the best out of this experience is the free exchange of knowledge and ideas.

When I first wrote my concerns about the way this Chene Project was going I had some fear of swimming against the current but I’m so glad I said what I said. But, let me take it a step further to really tap into what is really going on with me concerning the knowledge of this Chene Street Project is being handled makes me very sad. I am sad because I am of Polish heritage and I am proud of my heritage that’s why I talk about it. The sadness comes from the Chene Street Project being a metaphor for one more time that the Polish people are not united in their pursuits. We in the “old” country visited much heartache and pain because of our own selfish pursuits going back to the Polish Sejm back in the 16th Century with the principle of liberum (Latin for “I free forbid”) and one person could veto what is in the best interest of the whole of the population and it was always for selfish interests. This in the end led to Poland being divided up amongst the other European powers and Poland ceasing to exist for so many decades or really centuries.

Bringing this full circle to why this is significant to Detroit and DY it is because of this lack of unanimity amongst us Poles that we are watching our heritage crumble before our eyes. We ran away from the problems of Detroit, we assimilated and brought ourselves up by our bootstraps, doing better, making more money, getting more initials behind our names and abandoned the City of Detroit to the destruction that exists today. So, when we see scrappers climb up on the roof of St. Albertus to steal the copper roof we have no one to blame but ourselves because we use to have strong communities where these things could never happen because there we always eyes watching and people walking and there aren’t anymore!"

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A Presentation of the Detroit Institute of Arts at Historic St. Albertus.

Art in the Age of Cathedrals

A Presentation of the Detroit Institute of Arts at Historic
St. Albertus

Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 12:30 P.M.

Travel backward to the medieval period to explore the architecture of cathedrals, Gothic chapels, and the objects found in them. The presentation will be given by Becky Hein of the Detroit Institute of Arts at Historic St. Albertus Church.

St. Albertus Church still stands proudly at the corner of St. Aubin and Canfield as an icon of Detroit's Polonia. Historic St. Albertus Church was built in 1884 in a Gothic Revival style. The church seats 2,500 and contains over a hundred religious paintings and statues. The building's historic and architectural significance has been recognized. The church was declared a State of Michigan Historic Site and placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior. The buildings that make up the St. Albertus Historic District are maintained by the Polish American Historic Site Assoc., a non-profit group.

There is no charge for attending this event however we gratefully accept donations which are used to maintain and restore the buildings that make up the St. Albertus Historic District. Call 313.527.9321 or 313.285.9398 for more information about St. Albertus Church.

St. Albertus Church is located at 4231 St. Aubin at the intersection of St. Aubin and Canfield, just east of WSU’s medical campus in Detroit. A parking lot is located just north of the church.

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Saturday, October 04, 2008

St. Hyacinth Polish Roman Catholic Church another of the magnificent "palaces of prayer" in the Eastside Detroit Polonia.

This posting is dedicated to my Polish Catholic brother-in-Christ, Tom S. whose childhood parish is St. Hyacinth.

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St. Hyacinth Polish Roman Catholic Church an of the magnificent "houses of prayer" in the Eastside Detroit Polonia.

St. Hyacinth Polish Roman Catholic Church another of the marvelous awe inspiring "Palaces of Prayer on the Eastside Detroit Polonia.

Friday, October 03, 2008

St. Albertus Polish Roman Catholic Church's "foot print" 1884...

This map of the entire St. Albertus Complex dates from sometime after February 14, 1884. As you can see Canfield St. use to be called Fremont St. This is the kind of stuff that makes things difficult to track down because the street names changed all through the years and the numbering systems changed at different times, also. This is a Sanborn Map that was used by property and casualty insurance companies that insured the various properties. So, things relevant to property insurance needs are delineated i.e. lighting, heating, fuel, etc. If you know what you’re looking for it can always be found if it exists. Notice that the old church is still standing on what is the site of what is the current rectory, today. The new church is under construction which tells us that this snapshot is from the time of Fr. Dominic Kolasinski's pastorate in early 1884 after the contract for construction was signed on the above mentioned February 1884 date. The 1st St. Albertus School on the NW corner of Fremont (Canfield) St. and St. Aubin listed on this Sanborn Map is long gone and the one that is currently right behind and west of the current church was not even a thought, yet. Notice that on these original blueprints the wrong name was listed inside the section of the new and old churches and the school. It is referred to as "Church of St. Albert" in both the old and new churches and as "School of St. Albert Parish" in the school on the blueprint when in fact the name is St. Albertus. But, there was some mix up concerning the official name of the church that we will explore in later postings.

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lively Americans: The U.S. Poles

Life Magazine April 25, 1955 A time when the Polish Community of Hamtramck was buzzing with activity, excitement and enthusiasm.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

St. Francis D' Assisi Polish Roman Catholic Church...

Detroit Polonia the Westside Version!

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