Chaldean Town

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Sacred Heart Chaldean Catholic Church in Chaldean Town

Chaldean Town is an historic Chaldean neighborhood in Detroit located along West Seven Mile Road in a segment in between Woodward Avenue to the west and John R St. to the east.[1] The population of the district are mainly low income elderly people and recent immigrants, who are mostly made up of Chaldeans.[1] The neighborhood is usually just a stop point for newly arrived immigrants, who then typically prefer to move to the suburbs of Detroit once they gain financial well-being.[2]


Chaldean Center of America

Chaldean Town was founded in the 1920s by Chaldean immigrants from Turkey and Iraq (former Ottoman Empire) who wished to work in the automobile factories. After the 1967 Detroit riots and the downfall of the automobile industry, much of the area's wealthy residents and business owners left, leaving the Chaldeans with a monopoly over certain businesses such as grocery stores. Due to a stream of immigrants attracted to the already pre-established Chaldean community and the monopoly they had over certain industries, the neighborhood boomed in the 70s.[3] Unfortunately, after the 1970s the neighborhood has suffered from crime and abandonment of property caused by the crack epidemic during the 80s and 90s- a fate common amongst Detroit neighborhoods.[4] The residents now are typically only recent immigrants, business owners, and elderly.[5]

Relationship with Saddam Hussein[edit]

Around 1979, after Jacob Yasso, the reverend of the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church (Aramaic: ܥܕܬܐ ܕܠܒܗ ܕܡܪܢ ܕܟܠܕܝ̈ܐ‎‎ ʿēttāʾ d-lebbēh d-māran d-ḵaldāyēʾ) congratulated Saddam Hussein on becoming the President of Iraq, Saddam gave $250,000 to the Sacred Heart Chaldean Church.[6] In 1980, Saddam gave Yasso $200,000 after Yasso told Saddam his church had $170,000 in debts. WDIV-TV (Channel 4) wrote that the funds "reportedly helped build" the Chaldean Center of America, a building on Seven Mile Road adjacent to the church. The building houses some of the offices of the church, an English-language school, and a Chaldean cultural museum.[7] In honor of Saddam's efforts, Yasso presented Saddam with the "Key to the city", procured by then Mayor of Detroit Coleman Young.[6]


In 1999 the City of Detroit planned to create Chaldean Town as an entertainment center.[8] It was officially designated as "Chaldean Town" in 1999.[2] The area also has a multimillion-dollar housing development planned.[4]

The neighborhood is currently suffering from urban decay. As of 2015 Chaldean Town has lost all but two of its Chaldean retail businesses, with only S&J Meats and Sullaf Restaurant remaining.[9]


Residents are zoned to Detroit Public Schools. Residents are zoned to Greenfield Union Elementary-Middle School,[10][11] and Pershing High School.[12]

The Community Education Center, a government-funded center owned by Chaldeans,[13] is located on Woodward Avenue in Chaldean Town, near Seven Mile. Asaad Yousif Kalasho founded the center.[14] The teachers and most of the students are Chaldean. It provides free education.[13]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b Henrich and Henrich, p. 81-82.
  2. ^ a b Henrich and Henrich, p. 82.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Saddam Hussein Helped Detroit Church, Got Key to City." (Archive) Associated Press at Fox News. March 27, 2003. Retrieved on November 17, 2013.
  7. ^ "Saddam Reportedly Given Key To Detroit Iraq President Funded Local Chaldean Church In 1980." () WDIV-TV (Channel 4, Click on Detroit). March 26, 2003. Retrieved on November 16, 2013.
  8. ^ Low, Marsha. "CHALDEAN TOWN DETROIT OFFICIALS, FEDERATION WORK TO TURN NEIGHBORHOOD INTO ENTERTAINMENT CENTER." Detroit Free Press. August 24, 1999. NWS p. B1. Retrieved on November 15, 2013.
  9. ^ "The last days of Detroit's Chaldean Town." Detroit Free Press, August 2, 2015. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  10. ^ "Elementary Boundaries - 2012/13 School Year." (Archive) Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  11. ^ "Middle School Boundaries - 2012/13 School Year." (Archive) Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  12. ^ "High School Boundaries - 2012/13 School Year." (Archive) Detroit Public Schools. Retrieved on November 1, 2012.
  13. ^ a b Smith, Natalie Jill. "Ethnicity, Reciprocity, Reputation and Punishment: An Ethnoexperimental Study of Cooperation among the Chaldeans and Hmong of Detroit (Michigan)" (PhD dissertation). University of California, Los Angeles, 2001. p. 44. UMI Number: 3024065.
  14. ^ "Iraqi expatriate sees war's toll." The Detroit News. September 1, 2000. ID: det8665408. Retrieved on November 16, 2013. "Asaad Yousif Kalasho is founder and president of the Community Educational Center on Woodward near Seven Mile in Chaldean Town."

Coordinates: 42°25′56″N 83°06′30″W / 42.4322°N 83.1084°W / 42.4322; -83.1084