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Church Revival: Why First Unitarian Is a Neighborhood Linchpin

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This post was authored by MJ Galbraith, a songwriter, musician, baseball nerd, and now Curbed Detroit contributor.

Image gallery of the First Unitarian Church by Detroiturbex.

And now for something completely different thus far in our series: a church! Community manager for Dig Downtown Detroit and writer for the Detroit Regional News Hub, David Lingholm lives in a loft near this historic Brush Park beaut and thinks a restoration project, "would be a shot of pride in the arm of a community sandwiched between Downtown and Midtown." The Romanesque Revival-style building was built by the First Unitarian Church of Detroit congregation in 1890 and caused quite the hubbub around town with its John LaFarge-commissioned stained glass windows (windows fancy enough to now be on display at the DIA). The building was modified back in 1936 when Woodward was widened and has since changed hands a couple of times.
The First Unitarian Church of Detroit has been empty for a couple years now but David has just the idea Curbed Detroit can get behind. Says David:

"Realistically, I think a community theater with the right community support could be a great use of this building. Life is starting to return to Brush Park and to have a community theater like the Park Players Detroit would be an incredible addition. Imagine that corner of Woodward, with an active community theater program and Ecumenical Seminary next door ministering daily to the community. The few houses for sale behind the property have residents inhabiting the structures again and people are planning to build their own homes in Brush Park again. The market just a few blocks north is humming with activity while a few new restaurants have sprung up, giving the community a uniquely walkable feel again. This building could be that catalyst and I get excited when I think about what could be if the right person shares that vision."
With the Bonstelle Theatre and Cass City Cinema each being a block or two away, a community playhouse would provide quite a complement to the neighborhood. With no development news available on the corner of Woodward and Edmund Place, let's hope David's idea stirs the pot enough to get people talking about one of Detroit's beautiful historic churches. · First Unitarian/ Resurrection Promise Church [Detroiturbex]
· Re-Imagining the Detroit Dry Dock/Globe Trading Building [Curbed Detroit]
· Phil Cooley Hopes To See The Packard Plant Transformed [Curbed Detroit]
· Advocating For All Apartment Buildings on Woodward Ave. [Curbed Detroit]

First Unitarian Church Of Detroit

2870 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI