The Motor City is known for many things; putting America on wheels, the city’s storied musical history and the invention of the coney dog. Yet, one of the most overlooked amenities of this major metropolitan area is the massive surplus of beautiful churches and graveyards that populate its landscape. In her new book, Detroit: 138 Square Miles, photographer Julie Reyes Taubman captures some of the most idyllic imagery of both that the city has to offer.
Mt. Olivet, located on Detroit’s Eastside, is the city’s largest cemetery, as its vast reach spreads over 320 acres of land. With an endless number of interesting headstones and a monstrous walk through mausoleum, this space is a great place start exploring the city on a beautiful winter day. Maintained by a local Catholic non-profit organization, the Mount Elliott Cemetery Association, this graveyard predominantly features a mix of private citizens and influential politicians like U.S. Senator Patrick Vincent McNamara (D-MI) and U.S. Representative Louis Charles Rabaut (D-MI).
Distance to next destination: 2.94 Miles, 8 Minutes
Occupying 86 acres of Detroit land, Elmwood Cemetery is not only a beautiful place to visit, but has also had a tremendous cultural impact on the area. The property was one of the first cemeteries to be fully-integrated, dating back to 1850 when the state’s oldest Jewish cemetery was established on site. Influential Detroiters ranging from politicians including five-term Detroit Mayor Coleman Young to rock icons like the MC5′s Fred “Sonic” Smith are now amongst those that claim Elmwood as their final resting place.
Distance to next destination: 3.94 Miles, 8 Minutes
Saint Stanislaus Catholic Church, which is now home to Promise Land Missionary Baptist Church, is one of Detroit’s oldest, still-standing churches, as construction ended on the property in 1889. From the impressive towers on the outside of the facility down to the extremely detailed Baroque-styled interior, architect Harry J. Rill’s design remains awe-inspiring even in the twenty first century. In Julie Reyes Taubman’s coffee table photography book, there is an impressive shot showcasing the vantage point from the church’s mammoth baptismal tub.
Distance to next destination: 6.61 Miles, 13 Minutes
Despite Hamtramck being known as the city’s preeminent Polish stronghold, there was a large Polish community on the city’s Westside based around Saint Hedwig’s Catholic Church. Construction on the building was completed in 1916 and the church served the Polish community until its mass migration to the suburbs. It has been more recently adopted by Detroit’s new incoming Mexican population. Taubman’s photo captures a view of the buildings cross streets from the church’s steps, as well as the statue of Saint Casimir, the patron saint of Lithuania, Poland and young adolescents.