Through the Years - a
Photographic History of Center Line, Michigan
St. Clement Catholic Church and Parish
Unless noted otherwise, all
photos are from the collection of
Captions and text by Mike Grobbel
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In January and February of 1957, St. Clement Parish published "The Reporter", a newsletter which kicked-off the fund-raising process that led to the construction of the new church that opened in 1961. The newsletters also included an article titled "St. Clement Church - A Noble Heritage", which was a history of the parish covering the years 1852 through 1957.
Burials from St. Clement Parish, 1854-1977
Transcribed from parish records by Joyce (VanOverbeke) Sackleh, Feb. 2002
St. Clement Cemetery
Transcriptions of gravestones with dates of death from 1855 to 1953
Transcribed by Mrs. Lillian Toaz McCormick
(apparently from the DSGR Magazine, circa 1962)
Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6
|At top left
is a painting (ca. 1870) of the original St. Clement
church that was built in 1854 on the parish property at
Van Dyke and Engleman Avenues. At bottom left is
reproduction of the pen and ink drawing of the original
church that appeared in the "1875 Atlas Map of
An addition was put on the church in 1868 to accomodate the increasing number of parishoners. The parish at one time covered the entire area between Woodward and Jefferson Avenues and Eight Mile to Fourteen Mile Roads. This church was torn down when it was replaced by a new brick structure in 1880.
This was the second St. Clement church. The cornerstone was laid on July 5, 1880 and the church was dedicated on Nov. 6, 1881. The new building was 136 feet long by 54 feet wide with a 100 foot tall steeple. The photo post card on the near right was probably made sometime shortly after the new Priest House was built in 1896. The middle photo (from the St. Clement 150th Anniversary booklet) was taken around 1925 and it also shows the windmill and water storage tower behind the church. The photo on the far right was taken in 1956 by parishoner Joseph Blahnik.
The bottom photo is from the spring of 1961 and shows in better detail the adjacent Priest House, which was torn down in the early 1970s.
|Here are two views of the interior from the choir balcony at the rear. The front walls and ceiling were decorated with religious-themed frescoes that were created by a parishoner and plasterer named Lambert Peters. Lambert's brother, Antoine Peters, and his son-in-law, Peter Guion, also worked as bricklayers and plasterers on the construction of the church.The far left photo is undated while the near left photo dates from the 1950s.|
The "Sisters House" was the convent where the nuns lived who taught at St. Clement School. This is a scanned image from a post card circa 1914 (from the collection of Mike Grobbel).
This photo was taken looking to the west from the northwest corner of the Sisters House. Visible on the right is the top of a windmill and the water storage tank for the parish well water system. The windmill was replaced by an electric pump and eventually the entire water system was removed when the Village of Center Line installed a municipal water system in 1927-1928.
This is part of a 1927 map of Center Line that shows the location of all structures on the Parish property (from the collection of Mike Grobbel).
The St. Clement School Band after a concert in the old picnic grove on Engleman, 1932 or 1933
The American Legion Post 81 in Center Line raised money to send the St. Clement School band to the 1933 American Legion National Convention in Chicago where they performed in a parade and took in the sights. Clement A. Grobbel was the Post Commander and he is shown standing next to the "A" in the American Legion sign.
Two of the band members were Clem's 10 and 8 year old sons, Vincent and
Alton ("Oz"). Oz is sitting in the front row of this photo, directly
above the "N" in Legion; Vince is just to the right of Oz and both are
shown holding their horns on their laps.
Here are the names of most people in this photo. They were identified in 1961 by Bert Hazen and Harold Stilwell, who published this photo in the Center Line Silver Jubilee Souvenir Remembrance book. Left to right):
Standing in front: Art Wright, Mark Kunath, Paul Elwart, Clem Grobbel, Regimus "Pro" Walter, Art Geisler and Charles Leveque.
Front row, seated: Virginia Sparaga, John Godin, Eleanor Bishop, Rosanne Grobbel, Marian Borse, John Eisenman, Lawrence Kunath, Joseph Verhulst, Phyllis Weddel, Clement Kaltz, Rosemary Wiegand, Alton Grobbel, Vincent Grobbel, Florence Wiegand, Marie Rinke, Willard Hacht, Robert Stout, John Cavacece.
Three standing behind front row: on left - John Tierney, Francis Lefevre, Ann Marie Sauter; on right - Bernard Vohs, Frank Hokendorf, Jack Theut.
Second row, seated: William Beaumer, Marjorie Nolan, Evelyn Henk, Thomas Grobbel, Edwina Godin, Frances Weddel, Raymond Wiegand, Father Meyer (standing), Harold Wolf, Ruth Herzog, Bernard Wolf, Jr., Maxine Nolan, George Wolf, Bernard Kalahar, Jr.
Third row, seated: Gerald Rinke, Richard Kutchey, James Wiegand, Lillian Herzog. Fourth row, standing: (all unidentified)
"Pro" Walter was the St. Clement Parish music director and School Band conductor who later married Lillian Herzog. Clement Grobbel served as the Post Commander and would later become the City of Center Line's first Police Chief and after that, the Water Dept. Superintendant. Thomas Grobbel and Robert Stout would serve as Center Line City Councilmen in later years. John Cavacece would marry Roseann Grobbel and Robert Stout would marry Eleanor Bishop.
Aerial views of the St. Clement Parish property
from the St. Clement Parish
150th Anniversary booklet)
|(circa Summer 1954)||(circa Spring 1975)|
More aerial photos of the parish
property (courtesy of WSU CULMA and DTE):
1949 | 1952 | 1957 | 1961 | 1967 | 1997
The third and current St. Clement Church, which was built in 1961
(click to enlarge, photo ca. 1970,
from the St. Clement Parish 150th Anniversary booklet)
(click to enlarge, June 2006 photo
by Mike Grobbel)
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Visit these pages for more
a) Wesley Arnold, who collected these old photos and has his own local history web site.
b) Mike Grobbel, who supplied the captions for these old photos and created these web pages
c) the History of the City of Center Line at the Center Line municipal web site
d) St. Clement Parish, photos, memorabilia and newspaper clippings from the Grobbel family collection
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