The Central United Methodist Church, photo submitted in 1982.
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Central United Methodist Church
23 East Adams, at Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Central Methodist Episcopal Church
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Gothic Revival
Architect/Builder Gordon W. Lloyd
Smith, Hinchman and Grylls
Narrative Description The Central United Methodist Church is a light gray, rock-faced, coursed ashlar, limestone, Gothic Revival-style church with dark stone trim built in 1866 to 1867. Central Methodist assumed its present size as a result of the 1935 remodelling necessitated by the widening of Woodward Avenue. Although it was reduced in length by the shortening of the nave several bays, the facade was reconstructed so as to be virtually identical to its original design. The gabled entrance elevation facing Woodward Avenue is balanced by a tall, buttressed, corner tower with open belfry and tapering slate spire. The doorway is inset within a compound, molded, Gothic arch. Dominating the facade is the over-sized, traceried, lancet-arched window over the doorway. Adjoining the rear of the church on Adams Street is the six-story, cross-gable-roofed, limestone parish house building built in 1914 to 1916. It is a Jacobean-style building with three-part windows, stone hood molds, gabled dormers, and a steeply pitched slate roof.
Statement of Significance The present Gothic Revival building is the seventh structure occupied by the Central United Methodist Congregation. Central Methodist is the oldest continuing Methodist church in Michigan. Organized as the First Methodist Episcopal Society on April 12, 1821, the society merged with the Congress Street Methodist Church when fire destroyed the latter's church in 1863. First Methodist sold its commercially valuable property at Woodward and State and purchased lots at Woodward and Adams where a frame chapel was erected in 1865. The present stone edifice was dedicated on November 17, 1867. A six-story parish house, constructed between 1914 and 1916, was designed by the Detroit architectural firm of Smith, Hinchman and Grylls. Considered the finest Methodist church in Michigan at the time of its construction, Central Methodist is highly significant as an example of a High Victorian, Gothic, auditorium church and as a major work of the prominent, nineteenth-century, Michigan church architect, Gordon W. Lloyd.
Marker Name Central United Methodist Church
Marker Text CENTRAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Lewis Cass, governor of the Territory of Michigan, approved a constitution for the First Methodist Episcopal Society May 17, 1822. This church, a direct successor, was designed by Gordon W. Lloyd. It was completed in 1867 by the combined efforts of the First Methodist Episcopal Church and the Congress Street Society. When Woodward Avenue was widened in 1936, a thirty-foot section was removed from the nave, and the front and tower were subsequently relocated. The sanctuary was then rededicated. The stained-glass windows were installed in 1955. Maintaining the tradition of an open door and free pulpit, Central United Methodist Church has been called "the conscience of a city."
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1866, 1867
Registry Type(s) 06/19/1979 Marker erected
08/03/1982 National Register listed
06/06/1977 State Register listed
Site ID# P25041