News

Then and Now: First Unitarian Church of Detroit [Video]

Monday, May 19, 2014





May 10, 2014

The 123-year-old First Unitarian Church of Detroit burned to the ground. The building used to stand at 2870 Woodward Avenue in Midtown.


May 18, 2014

Preservation Detroit and community partners held a final service at the site of the church. The candlelight vigil included live music and readings.



Amy Elliot Bragg of THE NIGHT TRAIN read the original dedication of the church from 1890.



Thomas Palmer's speech dedicating First Unitarian Church of Detroit | Nov. 29, 1890

(From THE NIGHT TRAIN, originally reported by The Detroit Free Press on Dec. 1, 1890)

"Now, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, I accept this structure in the name of the people — in the name of the people who shall come here to worship — in the name of the good, who will come here and receive stimulation to further endeavor — in the name of the bad, who will come here and be led to see the error of their ways — in the name of the young, who will here see examples, which shall stimulate them to greater good — in the name of the sinful and erring, who will here find an atmosphere and teachings which will induce them to live different lives.

As I stand here I look down the long vista of thirty-seven years. Where are those faces which I used to see in this congregation? They have disappeared from our sight. Yet they come to me today and seem to rejoice with us in our fortune. In the name of them who have gone from us and those who shall come in the future, I accept this building as a place where souls may be uplifted from evil ways and habits and led to a perfect rest.

Let it be a stimulation to higher endeavor wherein we shall come to divulge the mysteries of God’s ways and the mysteries of man."