Historical Overview

National Shrine of the Little Flower Catholic Church in Royal Oak, Michigan is a well known Roman Catholic Church and National Shrine executed in the lavish zig-zag Art Deco style. The structure was completed in two stages between 1931 and 1936, and remains the third largest building in Royal Oak. The sanctuary stands at 1200 West Twelve Mile Road at the northeast corner of Woodward Avenue and is a parish of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit. Construction was funded by the proceeds of the radio ministry of the controversial Father Charles Coughlin who broadcast from the tower during the 1930s.

Named in honor of Saint Thérèse de Lisieux (who was also known as the Little Flower), the church was first built in 1926 in a largely Protestant area. Two weeks after it opened, the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross in front of the church. The original wood structure was destroyed by a fire March 17, 1936. Construction of the new building started in 1931 and ended in 1936. Its completion was spurred by the destruction of the old structure and it employed large amounts of copper and stone to execute the designs of architect Henry J. McGill, of the New York firm of McGill and Hamlin.


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