The Central Woodward Christian Church, photo submitted in 1982.
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Central Woodward Christian Church
9000 Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Little Rock Baptist Church
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION/religious facility
Current Use RELIGION/religious facility
Style Gothic
Architect/Builder George Dewitt Mason
Narrative Description The Central Woodward Christian Church is a Neo-Gothic-style, smooth limestone-clad, L-shaped structure built in 1926 to 1928. It is similar in style and detailing to Trinity United Methodist Church, which was designed by the same architect, George D. Mason, except that it strives to be more archaeologically correct in its carved detailing than its more stylized predecessor. The tall, narrow Woodward Avenue elevation consists of projecting buttresses terminating in carved statue niches flanking a central pavilion with an arched, recessed, entrance portal surmounted by an arched, traceried, Gothic window, above which is a pierced parapet screen at the roof spanning between the buttresses. The other important elevation faces Alger Street. It exposes the long side of the tall, narrow nave with its traceried Gothic windows, looming above a low, one-story wing located adjacent to the nave and extending out to Alger Street. The gabled, slate-roofed nave terminates in a tall, flat-roofed tower with an attenuated, open belfry. A two-and-one-half-story, gabled, parish-house wing extends from the tower to Alger Street where a recessed entrance is sheltered by an oriel window. At the rear of this wing and extending behind the tower and nave are additional parish house facilities.
Statement of Significance The English Gothic church was built as the fourth home of the Disciples of Christ in Detroit, organized by the Reverend William K. Nay in 1846. In 1871, the Protestant sect purchased a building on Washington Boulevard and worshipped there for twenty years. By 1890 the Central Christian congregation occupied a handsome stone Romanesque church facing Cass Park not far from downtown Detroit. Following the migration of other Protestant groups to the north Woodward area, Central Christian's membership erected the present limestone Gothic structure which was completed in June 1928. The Central Woodward Christian Church is a well-preserved, locally significant example of the Neo-Gothic movement in church architecture designed by one of Detroit's leading late nineteenth and early twentieth-century architects.
Marker Name Central Woodward Christian Church
Marker Text CENTRAL WOODWARD CHRISTIAN CHURCH The Detroit firm George D. Mason and Company designed this building for the Disciples of Christ in 1927. Although the structure remains relatively unchanged since its completion in 1928, the windows reflect the significant changes that occurred as the building was adapted for use by the predominantly African American Little Rock Baptist Church, which purchased the structure in 1978. In 1990 an extensive campaign began to replace the original colorless windows with stained glass. The south facade contains the African American Pulpit window depicting portraits of Black ministers. This is the fourth church occupied by the Little Rock Baptist congregation since it organized in 1936. The church is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1927-1928
Registry Type(s) 06/20/1994 Marker erected
08/03/1982 National Register listed
04/22/1993 State Register listed
Site ID# P25042