First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979 First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979 First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979 First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979 First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979 First Presbyterian Church, photo taken 1979
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First Presbyterian Church
2930 Woodward Avenue, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names First Protestant Society of Detroit
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Romanesque
Architect/Builder Mason and Rice
William Kapp
Narrative Description First Presbyterian Church is a large cruciform plan Richardsonian Romanesque building with walls of red rough-cut sandstone. A massive square tower rising from the cross forms the main, central portion of the structure. The tower, which is buttressed by corner turrets, features tall clerestory windows and is topped by a steep slate covered hip-roof broken by gabled dormers. Short transept arms feature large rose windows in their gable-fronts and are flanked by rectangular extensions. One of the transepts is fronted by an ornate rib-arched triple entrance decorated with variegated, geometric, and organic designs in the spandrals adding a byzantine flavor. Many stained glass windows light the interior of the church including one depicting St John of Patmos by Tiffany and Company.
Statement of Significance First Presbyterian Church was built by the oldest Protestant congregation in Michigan. The building is also the finest work of Detroit architect George DeWitt Mason. Completed between 1889 and 1891, First Presbyterian has undergone many alterations but has retained its historic integrity. The first modification was the addition of a three-story brick rear extension in 1910, connected to the church by a brick passageway. The most significant alteration to the structure was the relocation of the main entrance, completed according to plans by Mason in 1936. An additional entrance was added in 1953 by Detroit's William Kapp, but it did not greatly alter the appearance of the church.
Marker Name First Presbyterian Church
Marker Text FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH This building is the fourth home of the First Presbyterian Church, the continuing congregation of the First Protestant Society of Detroit, which was formally incorporated in 1821. The society was organized in 1816 by the Reverend John Monteith, a twenty-eight-year-old graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary, who in 1817 helped found and became the first president of what is now the University of Michigan. This Romanesque-style edifice, designed by George D. Mason and Zachariah Rice, was dedicated in 1891. Its congregation, one of the oldest Protestant ones in the state, established Detroit's Harper Hospital in 1861. In 1911 the adjoining "church house" was completed for educational and social activities.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1889, 1891
Registry Type(s) 08/26/1980 Marker erected
12/19/1979 National Register listed
08/03/1979 State Register listed
Site ID# P25103