Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bits of Vanished Ypsi Catholic history

Oddly enough, on this Ash Wednesday and beginning of Lent Dusty D finds herself learning about some vanished Catholic history in Ypsi, as an unexpected part of an upcoming story. Two vanished churches: St. Alexis and St. Ursula's.

St. Alexis began in 1940 in the Willow Run theater! It was a mission of the present-day St. John's church to the Willow Run community. The theater, now gone, was just a few yards northwest of the intersection of Dawn Avenue (formerly Berkshire) and Stamford, in the middle of the Willow Run housing complex. Today the area is subs surrounding Green Oaks golf course, up here in the Twp. The mission was changed to a parish in 1966.

St. Ursula's by contrast was on the southeast side of town. It began when the parish was created in the summer of 1960. Land had been purchased by the archdiocese of Detroit in the 1930s at Foley and Harris, but for Mass the church held Mass in the township hall, which used to be on Ecorse Rd. Two months later the congregation of 150 families moved to Kettering School at Gattegno and Knowles (now Kettering Elementary). The temporary church was built in 1961. A permachurch was built in 1967 at 1375? 1301? Harris, where it seems, per Google earth, to still stand.

In 1994 these two parishes were combined into one, Transfiguration parish. "[I]t was not accepted by a small, but vocal group who waged an extremely negative, and public, campaign which tainted the attitude and atmosphere surrounding the parish and school," says the church history. Dusty D would like to learn the reasons for that anger. Mass was held in the St. Ursula church, now called Transfiguration church.

Last August, Transfiguration parish was dissolved into St. John's.

Two little churches, now gone, from Ypsilanti's past.

1 comment :

Dusty D said...

The St. Alexis pic is of the school, and is (borrowed) from their alum FB page; the Transfiguration (Ursula's) pic is from a page regarding the parish merger.