The origins of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Roman Catholic Church can be traced to 1830, when German immigrants first arrived in Detroit. Warned away from cholera-stricken Detroit, they built a log church here in 1832. In what was then the outskirts of the city, Redemptorist missionaries served Kirchen Wald (Church in the Woods) until it was designated a parish by Bishop Peter Paul LeFevre in 1847. It is the second oldest parish in Detroit. Father Amandus Vandendriessche, the first full-time pastor, was assigned here in 1852 and immediately began building a permanent structure. Built of bricks made on the premises, the church was completed in time for Christmas services that same year.
Assumption Grotto Church Complex
To meet the needs of the growing congregation, this church was begun in 1928. Designed by the Detroit architectural firm Aloys Frank Herman, Incorporated, the limestone-faced, Neo-Gothic, basilica-plan church was dedicated on September 22, 1929. A unique feature of the church grounds is the grotto, a shrine located in the parish cemetery. Father Amandus Vandendriessche, who had served Assumption Church since 1852, visited France in 1876 and was so inspired by the Shrine at Our Lady of Lourdes that he decided to create a replica at his own parish. The grotto has attracted visitors since its dedication in June 1881. The entire church complex, which consists of the church, parish house, rectory, cemetery and grotto, was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.