First Presbyterian Church, date of photo unknown
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First Presbyterian Church
52 Marshall Street, NE corner of Marshall and Church streets, Coldwater - Branch County
Other Names First United Presbyterian Church
Property Type church
Historic Use RELIGION/religious facility
Current Use RELIGION/religious facility
Style Romanesque
Architect/Builder Harold Fisher and Associates
JOHN C. BENNET
Narrative Description The First Presbyterian Church is an imposing, red brick structure fronted by a spire-topped, projecting, centrally positioned tower. The church consists of two parts; the original church building, constructed between 1866 and 1869, and an attached, two-story educational building constructed between 1958 and 1959. The church proper is a rectangular, gable-roof building. The horizontal division between the largely above ground basement level and the sanctuary, which is raised nearly a full story above grade, is marked by a sandstone beltcourse. Romanesque Revival-style, round-arch windows in the basement, sanctuary, and tower, and bands of corbeled brickwork beneath the main roof cornice and below the belfry in the tower give the exterior its architectural characterization. The white spire rises to a height of 185 feet above the street. Its shingled surface is pierced by upper and lower sets of narrow, gabled dormers with blind-fitted openings. The sanctuary windows are of stained and painted glass made by George A. Misch and Brothers of Chicago and installed in 1868. The belfry contains a bell dating from 1853 and cast by Meneely foundry of West Troy (now Lansingburgh), New York.
Statement of Significance The First Presbyterian Church is notable as the largest and finest example of Romanesque Revival church design in Coldwater and Branch County and as a major example in a statewide context and as the home of Branch County's oldest Presbyterian congregation. The First Presbyterian Church was founded in Coldwater in 1837. John C. Bennett was the contractor for the present church building which served as both church and public auditorium since it provided the largest seating capacity in Coldwater at the time it was constructed. Notable speakers included Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Sojourner Truth. The church continues to be used by the Presbyterian congregation.
Marker Name First Presbyterian Church
Marker Text FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH Organized in 1837, the same year that Coldwater became a village, the local Presbyterian society held services in various quarters until 1844 when it erected its first church. It completed the present Romanesque Revival-style brick church in 1869 at a cost of $40,104. The 185-foot steeple, one of the highest in southern Michigan and the chief landmark of the city, was made possible by a gift from S. M. Seely. The Meneely bell came from West Troy, New York, in 1853. In early times, the church often served as a lecture and concert hall. Sojourner Truth, former slave and early women's rights activist, spoke here in 1877. This church building is now the oldest in the city still in use by its original denomination.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1959-60
Built 1866-69
Registry Type(s) 04/27/1987 Marker erected
07/31/1986 National Register listed
06/15/1979 State Register listed
Site ID# P22661