Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cub's Latest Photos!

Cub's garden has been changing so fast! This afternoon I noticed one raised bed. Between the time I left and hopped on the internet, he's built three more and plowed a corn-bed? Is this possible? And why hasn't someone snapped this guy up, already? Blueidone made a donation from and Cub put it to good use. Wow!

Building A Neighborhood

I believe the top left photo is from the 1880's. The masons are building the exterior wall to the left of St. Albertus' Church. The photograph of the priests on the same side of the church are unknown, except for two. Left is Fr. Herr and second from the right is Fr. Jan Mueller.

The Rectory in the early 1890's and how the rear of the Rectory looks today. Lovingly cared for by volunteers.

It's your neighborhood, Detroit (and suburbs). Stop by and visit. Saturday's have people walking in and out all day. Today there was even a wedding! I wish I had thought to get married here years ago. What was I thinking?

Click on photos for larger image.

Oldest St. Albertus Parishoner

Auguste was originally born Augusta J. Lesnau on June 8, 1882. I'll have to check for her parents' names but she was born in Germany. From the census, she states she was born in the U.S. but her passport application states she was going abroad to visit her parents.

She first married August Budnik, son of August Budnik. They had seven children together; George, August, Anna Theresa, Mary, Helen, and Edward. August died in 1915 and is buried in the Budnik plot at Mt. Olivet. Augusta then married Joseph Goike (previously married to Augusta Sirocke, who died during the 1918 flu epidemic). They had three children together; Anthony, Raymond and Eva. Joseph Goike was the son of John August Goike and Julia Socha. I was in contact with Auguste's son a few years ago. He was moving from Gross Pte. to Florida but he was kind enough to send photographs of his father and mother to me when they were young. I'll have to look them up. In the meantime, I did locate Augusta Lesnau Budnik Goike's passport application (Click on photo, right side of first page, left side of second page). She is holding her son, Raymond in 1922 and heading to Europe.

Auguste Budnik Goike died in 1979 and is buried in the Budnik family plot of Mt. Olivet. She attended St. Albertus since her arrival in Detroit (I'll have to check manifests to see who she was coming to in Detroit).

(Note the ornate door fixtures on St. Albertus. These have either been purposely removed to save them from strippers or stolen. Their outline is still there to this day.)

St. Albertus History - Poletown, Detroit

This is a photograph of the second St. Albertus built after 1872. The wooden altars of this church came from the first St. Albertus (built in 1872 - no photographs exist) and were moved to the present church on St. Aubin.

A few of the priests who served the Polish Community.

Second row, third from left: Fr. Jan Mueller (married many at St. Albertus - including my great grandparents) and Fr. Paul Budnik (my great grandfather's cousin).

The nucleus of Detroit's first Polish settlement was formed by a number of Poles who arrived in the city during the middle of the 1850's. As former residents of the Pomerania and Poznan sections of partitioned Poland, then under Prussian rule, the newly arrived Poles settled in and around the city's German-speaking community. Even though few of these Poles attended St. Mary's German Roman Catholic Church on the corner of St. Antonie and Croghan (Monroe) Streets, the majority utilized the facilities of St. Joseph's German Roman Catholic Church first located on Gratiot between Riopelle and Orleans Streets and later on the southwest corner of Orleans and Jay Street. But the Poles were not satisfied with this arrangement (Actually, the Germans forced the Poles to sit in the back of the church....I'm just sayin....) Continuing on...

Desiring to praise God in their native tongue, they began to take steps to organize their own parish in 1870.

Guided by Fr. Simon Wieczorek, CR, who had come down occasionally from Parisville, Huron County, Michigan, to attend to the spiritual needs of his countrymen in Detroit, the Poles organized the St. Stanislaus Kostka Society and began to collect funds for the building of a church. Even though he had some misgivings about the Poles' ability to successfully finance the project, Bishop Caspar Henry Borgess granted his approval.

The plot purchased by the parish committee composed of John Lemke, John Kolodziejczky (I gave up pronouncing that one!), Anthony Treppa, and Anthony Ostrowski comprised lot thirty-six of the old French St. Aubin Farm. Measuring 100 feet wide and 270 feed deep, situated on the western side of St. Aubin Avenue below the southern corner of Fremont (East Canfield) Street, the land cost $600 which was paid in full to the owner Phillip Beaubien. The transaction was completed November 9, 1871.

On this first parcel of St. Albertus Parish's real estate property arose the congregation's first "church and priesthouse." The building contract, dated October 11, 1871, was signed by architect John Wiesenhoffer and thirty charter members of the parish.

Construction of the frame church was begun on June 13, 1872. Bishop Borgess blessed and dedicated the church to St. Wojciech on July 14. Due to difficulties in finding a correct English equivalent for their Polish-Bohemian patron, St. Wojciech, the early pastors and parishioners borrowed the erroneous Latin equivalent Adalbertus, translating into English as St. Albertus or St. Albert.

The opening of St. Albertus led to the movement of the Poles into the neighborhood of St. Aubin and Fremont in order to be close to their own church. This migration resulted in the establishment of Detroit' first Polish neighborhood, known among Detroits as "Poletown;" to the Poles, however, it was "Wojciechowo," (Pronounced "Voy chek ovo") the "District of St. Albertus." (This information attributed to Allan R. Treppa, 1982)

The parish celebrated its Golden Jubilee in 1920. A commemorative booklet contained the names of seventy-two members of the Honorary Committee of the Golden Jubilee, which included some of the names of some of the founders of the parish or their immediate descendants:

Jan Baka (His descendants guard St. Albertus), Jan Becker, Edward Bernack, Jozef Bialk, Antoni Boza, Jan Brzozowski, Marcin Cwiejkowski, Jozef Cylke (Zielke - related to the Kreft family), Jan Detloff, Michal Domzolski, Jan Dopke, Franciszek Elwart (related to the Detloff family), Antoni Fleming, Jan Fleming, Sr., Jan Fleming (Jr.), Jozef Fleming, Edward Gajewski, Robert Glowczewski, Pani Gneba, Antoni Gojke (related to the Kreft and Budnik families), Jozef Gojke (see previous), Teofil Gostomwski, Franciszek Grenka, Marcin Grenka, Antoni Herr, Konstancja Herr, Pani Herr & Family, Jan Hildebrandt, Jozef Jagla, Jan Kaminski, Jozef Karsznia, Albert Klebba (related to the Detloff family), Jan Klebba (see previous), Xavery B. Konkel (street named for his family and also this is the same family that owned Konkel Funeral Home), Antoni Kortas, Julia Koss, Jan Kreft (related to the Zielke, Lemke, Detloff, Czappa, Budnik and Gojke families), Marcin Kulwicki (of Kulwicki Funeral Home), August Kuntz, Dr. Stan Lachajewski, Alexander Lemke , Bazyli Lemke, Antoni Lepke (related to previous), Jozef Lorkowski, Idzi Maisel, Franciszek Majk, Jan Miotke, Pani Mulawa, Antoni Nowe, Jan Ostrowski (grandson married into the Malinowski family who married into the Kreft family), August Priba, Franciszek Schmidt, Antoni Sikora, Jozef Sikora, Jan Skrzycki, Tomas Sobkowiak, August Steinhabel, Jan Steinhabel, August Steiber (later Stobar), Franciszek Strzyzewski, Antoni Szkotzke, August Szornak, Franciszek Tribeza, Antoni Trepa, Jan Wagner, Jan Welsland, Jakob Wolff, Bernard Zentarski (married into the Gohr, Malinowski family. Gohr family also married into the Biegalski family who married into the Malinowski family), and Jan Zynda (who also married into the Gojke/Kreft families). (These names are attributed to but most likely the research of either JGBann or Jim Tye - originally printed in "The Eaglet".)

Georgia Street Update!

I had stopped by last Wednesday to drop off some old scalloped concrete borders that used to surround my house. I had my husband digging them up and somewhere around the yard are still a few more. I thought Cub could use them in the future for raised beds. Wednesday was hot and dry and I thought, "It better rain in torrents soon. Cub can't continue to lug water."

I stopped by today to see how he was doing and Mama Cub was doing some weeding and the evening's rain had made the vegetables perk up. Also, from Wednesday until today (Saturday) Cub has been working his keester off! It looks completely different in a matter of a few days. I can't wait to see it all in full bloom! Cub also built a small wooden raised bed that he's planted his strawberries, rhubarb and other assorted berries in. It looks great!

If anyone has extra compost....

Descendants of the Parishoners of St. Albertus

On Sunday, June 1st at 11:00 a.m. begins mass. Afterward there will be a presentation regarding the history of Chene Street. All are invited but this is to alert those who attended or are descended from the original parishoners of St. Albertus. I've spent a good part of my day taking photos inside and out, sitting where my ancestors said their prayers, breathing in 130-plus years. The love ancestors placed in their homes of worship can be overwhelming and inspiring, and if nothing more, humbling (considering that most in Poletown had very little). This is the church they walked to - sometimes twice per day - just to say a quick prayer.

I'll be posting more shortly on St. Albertus and its history. If this was your ancestral spiritual home, please come. If your family didn't attend and you just like Detroit history, this is the place to be!

Also, if you or your family members have old photographs of Poletown, St. Albertus would love to have copies to display. It is an on-going effort to show what Poletown looked like over the years. Your photos will be returned to you.

Click on photograph for larger image.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Nichol and McClellan Street Garden

Just across Gratiot I found this little community garden. There were two little ladies carting away some compost (with permission) and preferred not to be photographed but they did tell me that the beds had just been built. It looks like Nichol Street (and St. Aubin) are pulling together. There are concrete bins used for composting and they've built a little path within the gated area. At first I thought they were growing just strawberries but upon closer inspection, nothing's been done there yet. I'll keep checking.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


After an hour-long internet search for rain barrels and reading about Ann Arbor's 700 pre-ordered barrels for Michiganians last year (at $75!), finding one on Amazon for $55 (with a $160 shipping fee!), I now have an internet migraine. So here's an idea I found online for a cheapie rain barrel that does the same dang thing. Total cost (priceless) FIFTEEN BUCKS!

Buy two, elevate one, pre-drill holes in both, run a short hose between the two for run-off. Voila!

I'm going to bed now.

The Prairie Gardens of Detroit

A few photographs I found from the wonderful Taken in Detroit, she showcases prairie-lands. Photographs of changing scenery in Detroit are hard to find so I usually enter keywords on Google and then switch to the "Images" tab. I couldn't have found Corine's site with just a general search.

What if all prairie neighborhoods in Detroit began to grow gardens? There would be no hunger. Detroit as it used to be, 100 years ago. Pingree's Potato Patch comes alive (and Kwame can't claim credit for any of it)! Personally, I find vegetable gardens surrounded by prairie land much more beautiful and inviting than urban sprawl.

The beauty of Detroit is in Its people. To say that Detroit is a dying city is ignorance. Prairies are a good thing for Detroit. Wild life returns, trees and flowers grow everywhere and people learn to re-use the land.

Now if Detroit would just lower its property taxes and the State actually GAVE all that Lotto dough to the public school system (and cleared out the corrupt school board) I'd move back in a heartbeat. In the meantime, Granholm is a slow-moving putz.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rain Barrels Wanted!

Recycling can help a whole community! These are leftover plastic barrels that are used in shipping food such as olives and pickels. They make the perfect rain barrel and when your garden is urban and located a distance from your home, a faucet and hose aren't going to cut it. Most packing houses will have a few though I'm finding that they're a very popular item these days. People are moving toward conservation within their own little universe and barrels are becoming scarce (unless you want to spend $65 and up for one online). I also like the fact that these are paintable using a latex/water resistant type of paint. Something for the kids in the neighborhood to do while the veggies are growing.

If you know a business that utilizes these barrels and doesn't need a few, please contact me.