The First Unitarian Church of Detroit, photo submitted in 1982.
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First Unitarian Church of Detroit
2870 Woodward Avenue, at Edmund Place, Detroit - Wayne County
Other Names Church of Christ of Detroit
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Romanesque
Architect/Builder Donaldson and Meier
Narrative Description The First Unitarian Church of Detroit, built in 1889 to 1890, is a massive, rock-faced, red-sandstone, Romanesque Revival-style church with a gabled facade facing Woodward Avenue. The church was somewhat remodelled in 1936 when Woodward Avenue was widened, but the basic original design elements were retained. The severe gabled facade with its great expanse of masonry is relieved only by a tri-partite arched window. A simple, shed-roofed, four-bay porch with stone Romanesque columns spans the first floor of the facade and abuts a severely plain, two-story, hip-roofed projection at the south corner. A simple side porch with stone piers adjacent to this wing shelters a secondary entrance. The long front porch was enclosed and glazed in 1936. At the base of the tower is an arched portal that shelters the church entrance.
Statement of Significance The Romanesque Revival First Unitarian Church building was the second home of the First Congregational Unitarian Society, incorporated on October 6, 1850. The unitarians dedicated this church, their second, in November, 1890. While Woodward Avenue was being widened and the church being remodelled, the congregation worshipped with the Universalist Church of Our Father. This worship arrangement proved so mutually harmonious that the two liberal congregations subsequently merged and the Edmund Place property was sold to the Church of Christ denomination which has occupied the building since 1937. The church is notable in a statewide context as a fine Richardsonian Romanesque church and in at least a local context as an important work of the prominent Detroit architectural firm of Donaldson and Meier.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1889-1890
Registry Type(s) 08/03/1982 National Register listed
Site ID# P25104