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Wayne State University

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Jun 17 / Lynn Losh

St. Agnes/Martyrs of Uganda

She sits slightly off the beaten path near S LaSalle Gardens and 12th.

The now abandoned architectural masterpiece formerly known as St. Agnes and the Martyrs of Uganda sits in a prettily presented state of rot.

At first sight I was curious. She seemed in good repair, maybe someone was still using her. After all Detroit is called the “city of churches.” The exterior of the this particular church is in good repair. There are broken windows, but the bricks are still there and there’s no real significant damage.CAFCB1C3-C961-4388-871A-B9BD3A9C7D4A_zpsbck8ihk5

I walked around her before attempting to go inside, looking for an easy entry. I found one, near the back. Upon entering St. Aggy, I realized that she was just a shell. Her outside might look vivacious, but inside she is bare bones. All that’s left in a few broken pews and a stage.

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The history of Martyrs of Uganda can be found at :http://www.detroiturbex.com/content/churches/stagnes/index.html

Here’s a rundown of the more significant events.

Aggy was built in 1921, and served Catholics of Detroit’s westside. She thrived from the 30’s to the late 60’s when riots in the neighborhood led to a decrease in attendance. Aggy joined with another congregation and together they created the Martyrs of Uganda. The name change was in honor of a group of missionaries who were executed in 1887 for refusing to renounce their faith. Aggy was closed for good in 2006 and since been open to squallers, scrappers and explorers.

Aggy’s most notable visit was probably in 1981 when Mother Theresa came and spoke.

Thoughts: I think Aggy is still a beautiful building. The arches and the space are gorgeous. It would take a lot of money to restore her, though and the neighborhood, as is with much of Detroit is too nonexistent to reopen such a church. Unfortunately, I hear she’s been put on the blight list. I am fortunate to have seen her and experienced her beauty, even if it was only in decay.

Aggy is not alone in her demise. She is partnered with a school that hosts some of the images below. Although Aggy and her counterpart don’t host religious events anymore, she does house some homeless (I assume since there are mattresses).

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