Here’s one from the gone file. It’s a bit long so here’s a summary.. This corner playground disappeared in 2015. It received little public use and was sold to the business next door. It is the former site of Detroit’s Polish Seminary founded by Father Dabrowski. The seminary moved out of Detroit in the early years of the 1900’s. Father Dabrowski finished this school to help educate the immigrants of this once heavily populated Polish neighborhood.
In 2015, Mayor Duggan announced a new development of an urban agricultural area named Recovery Park and a reuse of the Chene-Ferry outdoor market just north of St. Aubin and Forest. The aim is to create job opportunities for those Detroiters working to recoup their lives after addiction and other personal struggles. In a way, the spirit of Jozef [Joseph] Dabrowski is resurrected offering opportunity to those most in need. No eye rolling, good to be hopeful. 🙂 Thanks for reading. ag
Former location: St. Aubin and Forest
POLISH PATRIOT, DETERMINED PRIEST
Jozef (Joseph) Dabrowski [1842-1903] was born in Zoltance, Poland into a wealthy family. As a 12 year old, he assumed much of the familial responsibility when his father passed away.
Interested in math and science, he enrolled in Warsaw University on scholarships only to be sidelined by joining the failed Polish Revolt of 1863, an uprising against Russian rule over Poland. Afterward, he heard the call of piety and Dabrowski headed for religious life in Rome. He was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1869.
“It was a shock to me when the doctors told me that I had six months to live. My first thought was of my family and then the thought flashed through my mind of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane and what he said, Thy will be done, not mine”. – Leonard Kerschke
March 1, 1957
Gentlemen – Leonard Kerschke, employed by the Department as a recreation instructor, has recently been advised by doctors that he suffering from cancer and has less than six months to live.
Mr. Kerschke, married and the father of two young children has been an efficient recreation instructor and a loyal employee and since his illness has displayed a remarkable spirit of cheerfulness in the face of overwhelming adversity.
The Department would like to recommend to your Honorable Body that the playlot located on the south side of Seven Mile Road between Chalmers and Celestine, which is the general neighborhood of his home, be named for Leonard Kerschke while he is yet alive, as a tribute to his admirable courage and spirit.
J. J. Considine
Lived and died on the eastside
Leonard was born on September 26, 1929. He was a deep eastside Detroiter. He attended the Detroit Institute of Musical Art; met his wife at Bethesda Missionary Temple; married at Immanuel Bible Church; began his career in the Detroit Parks and Recreation Dept. Shortly before Leonard passed, he began writing about his journey through cancer. His article was picked up by the Associated Press; he received nationwide response and well wishes. Leonard died on April 15, 1957 – he was 27 years old.
The small playlot bearing his name is still located on Seven Mile Road between Gratiot and Hayes Road.