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First Congregational Church seeks $2M for restoration work

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Another prominent historic Detroit church is hoping to raise money through crowdfunding to address needed repairs. The First Congregational Church on Woodward Avenue in Midtown suffered damage this summer and is in need of a lot of restoration work.

The church, which has been at its present site since 1891 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, has gone through some wear and tear over the years, heightened by strong rain and wind this past summer. If you’ve walked past it recently, you can see some of the substantial damage to the church (you can also see above).

According to a press release, repairs needed include, “Reconstructing the handicap accessible ramp, the Forest Ave. porch, internal plaster work throughout the sanctuary, replacement of stained glassed windows destroyed due to vandalism and refurbishing the Woodward-facing façade of the church, which also serves as the main entrance.”

The church is also home to the Underground Railroad Living Museum, a Flight to Freedom Tour storytelling re-enactment of the original Underground Railroad passage that operated between 1840 and 1863.

"The First Congregational Church of Detroit is not only a magnificent part of Detroit’s historic architecture, but a valuable gathering space for the Midtown community,” said Nancy Finegood, Executive Director of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network. “The First Congregational Church of Detroit and their Underground Railroad Museum is a wonderful resource in teaching the history of the Underground Railroad. It serves as an exemplary educational tool for Detroit’s community."

A Go Fund Me campaign was launched this summer. The church is also hosting fundraising events to help the campaign. More information can be found here.