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First Unitarian Church of Detroit

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Title: First Unitarian Church of Detroit  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: First Congregational Church (Detroit, Michigan), Religious Structures of Woodward Avenue Thematic Resource, Bonstelle Theatre, Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church (Highland Park, Michigan), Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church
Collection: 1850 Establishments in Michigan, 19Th-Century Unitarian Universalist Church Buildings, Churches Completed in 1889, Churches in Detroit, Michigan, Demolished Buildings and Structures in Detroit, Michigan, Properties of Religious Function on the National Register of Historic Places in Michigan, Religious Buildings Completed in 1889, Religious Organizations Established in 1850, Romanesque Revival Architecture in Michigan, Romanesque Revival Churches in Michigan
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

First Unitarian Church of Detroit

First Unitarian Church of Detroit
The First Unitarian Church in 2008
Location 2870 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan
Built 1889–90
Architect Donaldson and Meier
Architectural style Romanesque Revival
Governing body Private
MPS Religious Structures of Woodward Ave. TR
NRHP Reference # 82002899[1]
Added to NRHP August 3, 1982

The First Unitarian Church of Detroit was located at 2870 Woodward Avenue in Midtown Detroit, Michigan. Built between 1889 and 1890, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1] The original Unitarian congregation sold the building in 1937. It was destroyed by fire May 10, 2014.[2]


  • History 1
  • Architecture 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


First Unitarian Church, c. 1906

The First Congregational Unitarian Society was incorporated on October 6, 1850. This church, their second, was dedicated in November 1890. The congregation used the church until 1934, when the widening of Woodward Avenue required a remodeling of the church. At that time, they worshiped with the First Universalist Church of Our Father, whose sanctuary on Cass Avenue was built in 1916. This arrangement worked out so well that the two congregations merged in 1934 to form the Church of Our Father (Unitarian-Universalist), which later became the 'First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit.[3][4] The First Unitarian building was then sold in 1937 to the Church of Christ denomination.[3] The building went through other owners before finally being abandoned during the 2000s. It sat empty and in poor condition until the fire which destroyed it.


The First Unitarian Church of Detroit was a Romanesque Revival-style church built of red sandstone. After its remodeling during the 1936 widening of Woodward, it remained substantially as built. The gabled façade had a great expanse of masonry; a simple four-bay porch with a shed roof and stone Romanesque columns spanning the first floor. There was a two-story hip-roofed projection at the corner, and a side porch with stone piers covering a side entrance.[3]


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  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^

Further reading

Arson Questions

External links

  • Detroit Blog: Pictures of the First Unitarian Church of Detroit
  • Photo gallery and history
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