McGregor Mission brochure, 1892

McGregor Mission brochure, 1892.  Courtesy Tracy W. McGregor Papers, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

The McGregor Mission

Tracy W. McGregor was born on April 14, 1869, near Sandusky, Ohio. He enrolled in nearby Oberlin College in 1888, the same year that his father closed a successful music store to found a mission for homeless men in Toledo. The mission flourished, and in 1891 McGregor’s father opened a second mission in Detroit, but died only days afterward. The 22-year-old McGregor immediately left college to run the Detroit mission. Under Tracy McGregor’s tireless leadership, the McGregor Mission for Homeless Men grew to be Detroit’s largest shelter, aiding several hundred men each day. Funding came from gifts and the manufacture and sale of kindling wood by Mission residents—McGregor Mission wood delivery wagons became a familiar sight on Detroit streets. In 1915 McGregor turned the renamed McGregor Institute’s day-to-day management over to others. By the time it closed in 1935, the McGregor Institute had helped over seven million homeless men.

McGregor Mission wood delivery wagon. Courtesy McGregor Fund

McGregor Mission wood delivery wagon.  Courtesy McGregor Fund

McGregor Mission kindling wood advertisement, ca. 1900-1910.

Advertising card for McGregor Mission kindling wood, ca. 1900-1910.  Courtesy Tracy W. McGregor Papers, Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

Mission residents cutting kindling. Courtesy McGregor Fund

Mission residents cutting kindling to be sold.  Courtesy McGregor Fund