First United Methodist Church of Highland Park, photo 1980
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First United Methodist Church
16300 Woodward Avenue, Highland Park - Wayne County
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION
Current Use RELIGION
Style Modern Movement
Architect/Builder William E. N. Hunter
Significant Person Thomas Palmer
Narrative Description The First United Methodist Church is a red brick, limestone-trimmed, Arts and Crafts influenced, Gothic-style, gable-roofed church built from 1916 to 1917. The principal elevations face Woodward Avenue and Church Street. The Woodward Avenue side is a three-story, gabled composition with banks of multi-paned leaded windows at three levels unified by projecting brick piers with limestone detailing. The windows at the main floor and balcony levels are enframed by brick, compound, pointed arches. The Church Street side is the entrance elevation. Two bays of Gothic arched windows surmounted by gabled dormers and a tall, square, flat-roofed corner tower with a louvered belfry complete the composition. The main entrance is sheltered by a broad arch in the base of the tower. Ornamental brickwork, including paneling, chevrons, soldier courses, check work, and various types of coursing enliven the exterior. Throughout the interior of the church are tiled floors, Arts and Crafts style oak woodwork, and tapestry brick wainscoting inset with Pewabic tiles.
Statement of Significance First United Methodist is the oldest Protestant church in Highland Park. Originating as an interdenominational mission in 1868, church membership declined in the 1880s, and the mission became an Episcopal chapel in 1885. The Episcopalians sold the Gothic frame chapel to the Methodists for $1 and an assumption of the church debt in 1892. Renamed the Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, the church received financial support from Michigan Senator Thomas Palmer and retired Great Lakes sea captain Thomas Stevens which enabled the construction of the present Arts and Crafts, Gothic structure, built from 1916 to 1917. In 1956, the original frame Gothic building behind the present stone church was razed and replaced by a contemporary educational building. The 1917 church is notable as an unusual, Arts and Crafts influenced church building and as a major work by W.E.N. Hunter, a leading early twentieth-century church architect.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1916-1917
Registry Type(s) 08/03/1982 National Register listed
Site ID# P25317