Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Metropolitan United Methodist Church

The Metropolitan United Methodist Church began as a merger of Woodward Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church and Oakland Avenue Church.

The merged congregation had the North Woodward Methodist Episcopal Church built at Woodward Avenue and Melbourne Street in 1906, but it burned down in 1916. The decision was made to rebuild. Sebastian S. Kresge, founder of the retail chain that bore his name and later became Kmart, was a member of the congregation. He donated land at Woodward and Chandler for this new church. On June 4, 1922, the cornerstone was laid, and the congregation's name was changed to Metropolitan Methodist Episcopal Church. Services were first held in the completed sanctuary on Jan. 17, 1926.

A member of the congregation, architect William E.N. Hunter, designed the church in the modern English Gothic style. The oak furnishings were carved by Alois P. Lange. The windows, executed by the Connick Studios, are of grisaille glass-decoration in tones of a single color. The second-floor murals were painted by George Boget, with each representing an epoch in the history of Protestanism.

The Merton S. Rice Memorial Organ, a M.P. Moller Organ Co. Opus 10641, was donated by Stanley and Dorothy Kresge in 1970. They contributed an additional $10,000 for structural modifications to house the pipe chambers. The organ has been enlarged to 7,003 pipes and 121 ranks.

At its peak, the congregation had some 7,300 members.

In 1968, the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church united to form the United Methodist Church, leading to this building's name being changed to Metropolitan United Methodist Church.