A Century of Christian Witness on Woodward
1885 – WOODWARD AVENUE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
- Property was purchased for $8,000 at the corner of Woodward and Harper (approximately 1 mile south of the current address) and a Chapel erected.
1895 – OAKLAND AVENUE CHURCH
- Begun in 1894, it moved in 1895 north of the Boulevard.
1901 – NORTH WOODWARD AVENUE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH
- The North Woodward Chapel was dedicated on April 27, 1902.
- The following year Dr. C.B. Allen was appointed pastor.
- The church had a sanctuary seating 1,400 and over 1,000 members.
- In 1913, Dr. Merton S. Rice came from Duluth.
- In October, 1916, land was purchased at Woodward and Chandler for $175,000 (by Sebastian S. Kresge, an active member).
- On Christmas Eve, 1916 the sanctuary burned.
1917 – THE TABERNACLE
- The Tabernacle was designed to be used temporarily as a church Sanctuary.
- Worship was in the Regent Theater and Sunday School was in the Chapel (which escaped the fire).
- The church continued to grow as Dr. Rice’s preaching drew large crowds to the Tabernacle. (This building still stands at Woodward and Melbourne.)
1924 – METROPOLITAN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
- June 4, 1922, the cornerstone was laid and the name changed to Metropolitan.
- Sept. 7, 1924, the congregation marched down Woodward Ave. from the Tabernacle to the new church.
- Jan. 17, 1926, the Sanctuary opened.
- Jan. 24, 1926, the new church was debt free (13,000 people gave $1.6 million; 9,000 attended dedication services).
- By the mid-1930’s it was the largest local church in World Methodism.
- Membership peaked in 1943 with 7,300 members (First Church, Houston surpassed it in 1949).
Metropolitan’s Historic Art and Architecture
- 9 story structure (Chandler tower is 105 feet high)
- English Gothic
- Takes up a city block in Detroit.
- 52,000 granite blocks are Ashlar granite quarried from near Plymouth, Massachusetts.
- All walls are made of solid masonry and plaster.
- Grey Ohio sandstone forms the facing and trimming on the doorways and windows.
- Architect for the design and building of Metropolitan was W. E. N. Hunter (member of the congregation).