Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church (and Our Lady of Heaven Catholic School) was built in 1945 and was located at 9555 St. Marys Street near the corner of West Chicago, on Detroit’s far west side. Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church was a large, two-story church that was designed in a Romanesque Revival architectural style.
Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church had a dark brown-brick exterior and featured a brick and stone façade. Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church featured a gorgeous, stone-bordered, extended main entrance, with an inset, stone-arched doorway. The main entrance extension was also outlined in an intricate, stone border. Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church had one set of stained-glass windows that was a series of three windows that were connected to each other. Each of the colorful, stained-glass windows were arched and bordered in stone detail. The façade of Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church also featured two more arched, stained-glass windows that were on each side of the main entrance. The peaked roofline also featured an ornate, brass cross that overlooked the entire front exterior of the church. Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church was a gorgeous church that featured beautiful brick work and gorgeous stone appeal.
Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church had a steady number of parishioners over the years, but by the 1990’s the number had dropped significantly. Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church had to merge with St. Suzanne Church. Both of the church parish’s shared a priest, but the number of parishioners continued to decline. In 1994, the Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic School was closed and eventually leased to Detroit Public Schools (it reopened as Erma Henderson Lower School).
In 2003, Our Lady Gate of Heaven merged fully with St. Suzanne and the church was closed. The new congregation, now called St. Suzanne Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church, opened at the St. Suzanne parish. The former Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church was put up for sale.
In 2005, a local church called Fountain of Life Community Church, had outgrown their small storefront church nearby and decided to purchase the former Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Church. Fountain of Life Community Church moved into the church. Fountain of Life Community Church also leased the Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic School from Detroit Public Schools, as DPS had stopped using the school when the church was put up for sale. Fountain of Life Community Church used both the church and the school for several years.
In 2011, Fountain of Life Community Church went bankrupt and had to close the church and school.
In 2014, another local church congregation, Body of Christ Christian Center, moved into the church and restored the church to it’s former glory. The school is still vacant and is still for sale by Detroit Public Schools.
As of 2015, Body of Christ Christian Center is going strong. We at Detroit-ish are always happy to see another beautiful location come back to life.