The First Congregational Church, photo taken 1978
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First Congregational Church
33 East Forest Street, NE corner of Forest Street and Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Romanesque
Architect/Builder Albert Kahn
Narrative Description The First Congregational Church of Detroit is a cruciform-plan building with walls of red rough-cut sandstone reflecting Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. The entrance facade is dominated by a corner campanile topped by a metal roof surmounted by a winged statue. A raised, five bay loggia with multicolored vegetal reliefs fronts the entrance facade. The parapeted front-gable features a two-tiered arcade topped by band of round windows with floral tracery enframed by a large stone arch. Large rose windows dominate the short transept facades of the building and admit much light into the interior.
Statement of Significance The First Congregational Church of Detroit is a well preserved representation of Richardsonian Romanesque and Byzantine styles, massing and color, unique among the city's many fine examples of religious architecture. The building was designed by Boston architect John Lyman Faxon and dedicated in 1891. Few alterations have been made to the building other than a 1920 red brick addition at the rear and side of the building designed by Detroit's Albert Kahn.
Marker Name First Congregational Church of Detroit
Marker Text FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF DETROIT In 1801, David Bacon and his wife Alice made the first attempt to establish Congregationalism in Detroit. Sent by a Connecticut Congregational society, the Bacons failed in their efforts to build a mission. It was not until 1844 that the First Congregational Society was formed in Detroit. The society erected a building which it soon outgrew. A second structure was dedicated in 1854. The third and present church known as the "Church of the Seven Arches" was completed in 1891. Designed by John L. Faxon, it has Byzantine and Romanesque features. The tower of the church is crowned by a statue of the Angel Uriel. Both the exterior and interior of this church are rich in the colors and symbolism of the Christian religion.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1891, 1900
Registry Type(s) 10/20/1976 Marker erected
06/04/1979 National Register listed
07/26/1974 State Register listed
Site ID# P25098