National Register of Historic Places Inventory - Little Rock Baptist Church

Creator: United States Department of the Interior Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service
Subjects: Historic Designation, Corporate Records
Description: Information of the religious interior and exterior structures inside of the Little Rock Baptist Church. Also known historically as the Central Woodward Christian Church. Located on 9000 Woodward Avenue at Alger in Detroit, Michigan.
Format: Text/jpg
Original Format: Other
Language: English
Rights Management: Little Rock Baptist Church
Contributing Institution:
Contributor: Carlton Rolle
National Register of Historic Places InventoryNational Register of Historic Places Inventory
Transcript: Description:
Condition: good Unaltered
Original site
The structure, measuring 145 feet in length and 110 feet in width, is located on the southeast corner of Woodward Avenue at Alger in Detroit. The church is a Neo-Gothicstyle, smooth limestone-clad, L-shaped structure built in 1926-28. It is similar in style and detailing to Trinity United Methodist Church, which was designed by the same architect, George D. Mason, except that it strives to be more archaeologically correct in its carved detailing than its more stylized predecessor. The tall, narrow Woodward Avenue elevation consists of projecting buttresses terminating in carved statue niches flanking a central pavilion with an arched, recessed, entrance portal surmounted by an arched, traceried, Gothic window, above which is a pierced parapet screen at the roof spanning between the buttresses. The other important elevation faces Alder Street. It exposes the long side of the tall, narrow nave with its traceried Gothic windows, looming above a low, one-story wing located adjacent to the nave and extending out to Alger Street. The gabled, slate-roofed nave terminates in a tail. flat-roofed tower with an attenuated, open belfry. A 2-story, gabled, parish-house wing extends from the tower to Alger Street where a recessed entrance is sheltered by an oriel window. At the rear of this wing and extending behind the tower on have are additional parish house facilities.

The interior of the church is light and airy in feeling because of the cream-colored platter walls and the large, leaded glass windows. The plainly finished nave focuses on the raised sanctuary with its carved oak and marble reredos, surmounted by exposed organ pipes. The choir loft on the north side of the sanctuary is lit by monumental stained glass portrait windows of George Washington and Abraham, Lincoln. Ceramic tile floors and oak pews complete the furnishings. The pitched wooden ceiling is supported by wooden arches. Elsewhere in the church are Tudor decorated offices and with stone and plaster chimney pieces, oak paneling, and reproduction English furniture. There are also Sunday School rooms and an auditorium.

Period: 1900
Areas of significance: architecture
Specific dates: 1926-28
Architect: George D. Mason (1856-1948) of Detroit

This English Gothic structure was built as the fourth home of the Disciples of Christ in Detroit, organized by the Reverend William K. Nay in 1846. In 1871, the Protestant sect purchased a building on Washington Boulevard and worshiped there for twenty years. By 1890 the Central Christian congregation occupied a handsome stone Romanesque church facing Cass Park not far from downtown Detroit. Following the migration of other Protestant groups to the north Woodward area, Central Christian's membership erected the present limestone Gothic structure which was completed in June, 1928. In 1978 the church was sold to the congregation of Little Rock Baptist Church. The 1926-28 Central Woodward Christian Church is a well-preserved, locally significant example of the Neo-Gothic movement in church architecture designed by one of Detroit's leading late nineteenth and early twentieth-century architects.

Geographical data:
Acreage: less than one acre
Quadrangle name: Highland Park