Detroit Kolping Society History

The Detroit Family has been in existence since July 29, 1926. The birth took place with the unanimous agreement of 20 men, destined to form a society to carry on the ideals of Fr. Adolph Kolping.

For the first year, the meetings were held at St. Mary's School in Detroit. The use of the school was offered by Fr. Joseph Wuest, pastor of St. Mary's Church. Fr. Wuest became the Praeses of the Detroit Family.

As the society began to grown, it was obvious that larger facilities were needed. By March, 1927, the membership had increased to 30. It was agreed to rent a house at 1394 East Jefferson Avenue in Detroit. This became Detroit's first Kolping House. The house was re-decorated and by May 15, was dedicated. Almost immediately 20 members moved in and membership began to soar. A Ladies Aid Section was formed in January, 1927. Legal status was obtained in October 1928 which also required the formation of the Board of Directors and Articles of Association.

Early in 1929, Detroit Kolping acquired land at what is now called the Kolping Park, a favorite recreation spot for our members. Detroit Kolping became owners of land that was part of an abandoned farm on Sugarbush Road in Macomb County. The land was overgrown with high weeds. In spring of 1929, members worked together to clear the land, construct a building, and plant trees. A chapel, typical of those found on the back roads in Europe, was built and dedicated in October, 1932. The park is used each summer for picnics, dances, camping, and Schuetzen activities. Main annual affairs at the park are the July 4th Schuetzenfest; and the Annual Car, Swap Meet, & Craft Show held in August.

With the expiration of the lease on the house on East Jefferson, it was decided to purchase a Kolping House. The purchase was a house on the corner of Congress and McDougall in Detroit in July of 1932. Rooms were rented; meetings and parties were held in the house, but it soon proved to be too small. In the spring of 1934, a hall was erected behind the existing house. The new structure provided the needed room for activities and a practice range for the Rifle Club founded in 1935.

In 1962, the house on Congress and McDougall was torn down and the area where the building stood was turned into a parking lot for the hall which remained. The hall was enlarged and completely remodeled. But these efforts were not destined to be with the Detroit Kolping for long. The City of Detroit Urban Renewal Program meant the demolition of our remodeled hall in 1966. In the interim period, before a new building was purchased, meetings were held at St. Anthony's School Hall in Detroit.

In June, 1967, the Detroit Kolping acquired the existing Kolping Center at 24409 Jefferson in St. Clair Shores. This purchase, and additional building improvements at the Kolping Park, made 1967 an eventful year. The Center, once a night club, was a welcome addition. In 1999, a major remodeling of the Center made it even more attractive and comfortable for our members and guests.

Our Kolping Center and Park are the sites of our quarterly Communion Masses, and social activities such as dances and card parties. Some of our events include the Schuetzen group with monthly shooting activities and competition with a neighboring club; an annual car & craft show; a camping group which highlights annually a week-long trip; and a bowling league, for juniors through seniors. The Detroit Kolping can say that its 73 years of existence have been full and active with goals towards the future.

Our Praeses is Deacon Peter Schlesser and our President is Tom Schultes, and our National Board Member is Mary Margaret Hubert.


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E-mail: tschultes@core.com

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