About the Author of the Site
I am Lowell Boileau and I am a fine art painter and Internet media artist.
I use the website as a medium for artistic expression
just as a painter uses paint and canvas. With the Lost
Synagogues of Detroit, I am continuing in
the vein of my most widely known works, The
Fabulous Ruins of Detroit and SoulfulDetroit.com and from my background as an urban
During my wanderings in search of images
for the Fabulous Ruins of Detroit website, I developed
a fascination about the many former synagogues that I
kept discovering along the way. Their clustering in the
Dexter-Linwood-Davison area of Detroit, in particular,
left indelible outlines of a once distinct neighborhood
that typified Detroit in its days when it was composed
of ethnic enclaves. Their ongoing existence
as predominantly Afro-American Christian Churches and
their continued functioning as pillars of new community
further sparked my interest.
What was their story, I wondered. How interesting
that these noble structures would come to shelter the
faith of two communities who, in common, have long histories
So, I decided to gather images of them
in a website, show them to the world, and solicit their
stories. My aesthetic goal is to develop an audience-created
artwork by adding accumulated memories to their pictures.
What you see here is ongoing result of that effort.
My upbringing as a son of a Protestant
minister has doubtlessly triggered some of the fascination
with these shul-churches. From an early exposure to the
Old Testament/Torah, I developed a life long interest
in Judaica. In 1971, while returning from two years in
the Peace Corps in Swaziland, Africa, I stopped off in
Israel and ended up staying for three months. I traveled
widely throughout Israel and Palestine including a insightful
six week stay as a volunteer at Kibbutz Nachsholim on
the Mediterranean Sea. When I returned to Detroit, I
determined to be an artist and that decision has led
up to this effort.
Now, come, travel with me on this voyage
of discovery and join with me in creating telling this
story. If you have any memories, facts, or stories of
these structures as synagogue or church, share them!
On each page you will notice a link at the bottom to share your memories.
We welcome and invite you to share your memories of Detroit's former synagogues and Jewish sites.
Email your memories to us » and we will add them to the site.
Thank you, Lowell Boileau
Click HERE to
read my creative resume.