First Congregational Church (Detroit, Michigan)

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First Congregational Church
First Congregational Church (Detroit, Michigan).jpg
First Congregational Church from across Woodward
Location33 East Forest Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates42°21′19″N 83°3′46″W / 42.35528°N 83.06278°W / 42.35528; -83.06278Coordinates: 42°21′19″N 83°3′46″W / 42.35528°N 83.06278°W / 42.35528; -83.06278
Built1891; 1921 (addition)
ArchitectJohn Lyman Faxon; Albert Kahn
Architectural styleRomanesque Revival
NRHP reference #79001173[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJune 04, 1979
Designated MSHSJuly 26, 1974[2]

The First Congregational Church is located at 33 East Forest Avenue (on the corner of Forest and Woodward Avenue) in Midtown Detroit, Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.[1]


The First Congregational Church of Detroit was established on December 25, 1844. Two church buildings were built near the Detroit River. The third building was constructed at the present site in 1891, and was designed by architect John Lyman Faxon. An addition to the church, known as the Angel's Wing, was constructed in 1921 by Albert Kahn.[3]


The church is designed in a blend of the Romanesque and Byzantine styles,[4] using rough-hewn, warm red limestone. The Woodward facade has a five-bay loggia, with a parapeted front gable. Above that are rounded windows with tracery framed by a rounded arch. The church also features a 120-foot campanile with many narrow arcades. The church is topped by an 8-foot copper figure of the Archangel Uriel.[5]

The church is patterned after churches found in Venice and Ravenna. The sanctuary, which resembles the lower church of St. Francis of Assisi,[4] boasts carved wood, ceiling portraits, rose windows and sumptuous colors.[3] The interior murals were designed and executed by Lyle Durgin,[6] completed in December, 1891.[7]

Living Museum[edit]

The church offers exhibits about the historical and architectural aspects of the church, its buildings and activities. Visitors can go on self-guided tours of the historic facilities and buildings.

The church also hosts the Underground Railroad Living Museum, a storytelling simulation of the original Underground Railroad.



  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "First Congregational Church". Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Retrieved September 2, 2010.
  3. ^ a b First Congregational Church of Detroit Archived 2008-05-25 at the Wayback Machine History page
  4. ^ a b Tutag, Nola Huse, & Hamilton, Lucy (1987). Discovering Stained Glass in Detroit, p. 57. Wayne State University Press.
  5. ^ First Congregational Church from Detroit1701
  6. ^ "About Us - First Congregational Church of Detroit". First Congregational Church of Detroit. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  7. ^ Willard & Livermore 1897, p. 265.


External links[edit]