Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church
Location Name: Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church (Detroit, Michigan)
Location Type: Church (Presbyterian)
Year Completed: 1926
Architect(s): Wirt C. Rowland
The current Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church was built to replace an earlier structure located about three miles west of the current structure. Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian parish was organized in 1854 when the First Presbyterian Church divided into three congregations. Over the next several decades, Jefferson Avenue’s congregation gradually began to move eastward to Detroit’s growing neighborhoods like Indian Village and the nearby Grosse Pointe area. Due to declining membership, Jefferson Avenue parish merged with Bethany Presbyterian parish on 17 November 1917. Bethany Presbyterian Church began as a mission of Jefferson Avenue in 1863 and became its own parish in 1883.
The merger created the need for a new building, the current church, on Detroit’s East Side. Wirt C. Rowland, of Smith, Hinchman & Grylls was selected to design the new church. Construction began in 1925 and the new building was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 28 March 1926. The new building contained the sanctuary as well as the Dodge Parish House, built in part with a donation from Anna Thompson Dodge in memory of her late husband, Automobile pioneer Horace E. Dodge. At a total cost of $1,250,000, Jefferson Avenue displays the wealth of the congregation it served.
The church is built in the Neo-Gothic style and made of New England granite. The bell tower houses a 23-bell carillon, whose bells were forged by England’s Gillet & Johnson. The leaded stained glass windows were made by Willet Stained Glass Company from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Also, Jefferson Avenue is home to one of only three remaining large Skinner Organ Company organs still in their original form.Sources