History

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).