Albion Interactive History / Events / 1936

Albion Interactive History

Albion Interactive History / Events / Starr Commonwealth

1936 June 7, “Shrine in the Woods” dedicated

According the the June 17, 1936, Albion Evening Recorder, “Sunday, June 7, ninety-two ‘problem-boys’dedicated a place of worship, which they called ‘The Shrine in the Woods,’ on the campus of Starr Commonwealthof Boys.” Because the school building had burned where services formerly were held “these boys of Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic faith conceived, designed, and built a beautiful, simple Gothic structure where they willhold devotional services each Sabbath throughout the summer.” Aside from the briefsermon by one D. Edward Blakeman from the University of Michigan and even briefer remarks by Uncle Floyd, the day of dedication belonged to the youth: “Six boys in black and white and scarlet trimmings conducted the services. One read theinvocation, another introduced the speaker, and a third, who not so many years ago was Michigan’s Problem Boy No. 1, offered up a prayer; still another played an old-fashioned organ and sang, in Italian, Gounod’s Ave Maria.”

Unfortunately, all one learns further from the news articles is that the shrine was “festooned with garlands of blossoms” and “song-birds provided a symphony… Notwithstanding theabsence of brick and stone, of chancel and church bells, that Sunday’s service at Starr Commonwealth was as impressive as an Easter service in a metropolitan cathedral. Onesomehow felt that the Master, who loves all children, smiled His approval on the handiwork of these His children.”

Source: Keith Fennimore. FaithMade Visible: The History of Floyd Starr and His School. Albion, Michigan:Starr Commonwealth. 1988.