Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church

Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church
Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°20′16″N 83°6′36″W / 42.33778°N 83.11°W / 42.33778; -83.11Coordinates: 42°20′16″N 83°6′36″W / 42.33778°N 83.11°W / 42.33778; -83.11
Built: 1891
Architect: Spier & Rohns
Architectural style: Carpenter Gothic
Governing body: Private
NRHP Reference#: 82002900[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP: April 22, 1982
Designated MSHS: October 2, 1980[2]

Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church is a church located at 4461 Twenty-Eighth Street in Detroit, Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1980[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1] The building now houses the Motor City Missionary Baptist Church.


Parsonage adjacent to Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church
School behind Gethsemane Evangelical Lutheran Church

In the late 1800s, German-speaking immigrants began moving into southwest Detroit.[3] The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church on Military Street was established in 1882 to service this influx of people.[3] The new congregation quickly swelled, and in 1890, the elders of Zion started a daughter congregation, commissioning the architectural firm of Spier and Rohns to design a wooden structure costing no more than $2000 to build.[3] This building is the only known example of a wooden church designed by the firm.[4]

The church was completed in 1891; a wooden parsonage was added the next year and a brick school was built in 1923.[4] The latter two building are included in the city historical listing, while on the church is on the National and state listing.[4]

The Gethsemane Evangelical Church was built in 1891; the congregation used the building until 1976, when they went defunct. The building was purchased by the Motor City Missionary Baptist Church in 1978.[2] The Motor City Baptist Church congregation was organized in 1967 by Rev. John W. Haynes and his wife Inez.[4]


Gethsemane Lutheran Church is a wooden, High Victorian Gothic chapel.[2] It is frame construction with gables at the ends, a central tower, and vestibule in front. The original clapboard siding still clads the building,[2] although white paint has replaced the original cream-and-gold with red-and-blue accent[3] color scheme. Each side has five tall lancet-arched, stained-glass windows, and the eaves are trimmed with hollow curved brackets and a paneled frieze.[2][3]

The interior is unusually well-preserved.[2] The interior walls feature vertical board wainscoting, with the area above covered in cream painted canvas.[4] The church organ is located on a rear balcony.[4]


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