CultureShift is getting out of the studio and around town to highlight some of the coolest spots in the region. In our Summer Field Trip series, learn about the history of these locations and what makes them unique, beautiful, interesting and just all around awesome.
Standing tall on the corner of Trumbull and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. is Trinity Episcopal Church, one of the many intricately designed architectural sites in Detroit that has become part of the everyday landscape. The church is featured in Jeff Morrison’s “Guardians of Detroit: Architectural Sculpture in the Motor City,” out now from Wayne State University Press.
Built in 1892, under the financial contribution and creative curation of Detroit News founder James E. Scripps, Trinity Episcopal Church intrigues the eye with a medieval-Gothic aesthetic. Scripps’ fascination with architecture, specifically the design of churches from 14th century England, served as inspiration for the structural build of the historical landmark, brought to fruition by George Mason and Zachariah Rice.
The exterior of the church is carved with gorgeous detail and storytelling sequences that give a history to gargoyles, angels and the symbolic image of a “wolf in priests clothes.”
“One of the more interesting gargoyles is on the side. It’s kind of damaged. You can see the metal from the spout… that was actually a wolf,” Morrison says. “He’s wearing a priest robe and holding a bible. It’s an expression of James Scripps’ belief to not trust the church that was becoming too worldly because it’s a wolf in priests clothing.”
Morrison and WDET’s Amanda LeClaire explored the church grounds to find more haunting details.
This piece was produced by WDET’s Rowan Niemisto.
Find more info about the book here.
Click the audio player above to listen to the story.