Heard on Morning Edition

Detroit Church Made Famous Through a Song Celebrates 175 Years

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Mariners Church helped slaves seeking freedom and devotes services to lost sailors

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One of Detroit’s churches with a worldwide reputation is celebrating it’s 175th anniversary this weekend. Historic Mariners Church, which sits in the shadow of GM’s World Headquarters Renaissance Center,  received worldwide acclaim through a song written by Gordon Lightfoot. The 1976 ballad “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”  mentions Mariners Church annual memorial service for sailors who have lost their lives on the waters of the Great Lakes. 

But, the Church’s history goes much deeper than the 20th century. It was established in 1842 through a legislative act proclaiming it a Maritime Sailors Cathedral. Ken Morse is a church Trustee. He says two sisters, Charlotte Taylor and Julia Anderson, funded construction of the church

Original Location of Mariners Churchwdet

Original Location of Mariners Church

Moving Mariners Churchwdet

Moving Mariners Church

To hear more about the church history, click on the audio link above



Amy Miller, Reporter/Producer

Amy has been working in public and commercial radio for the last 30 yrs. She is an award winning reporter and news anchor, born and raised in Detroit.

amiller@wdet.org Follow @wdetamy

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