Project Description

Original Thomas Temple Church was built in 1926 as the House of Masons.  The House of Masons was located at 8839 Oakland Avenue at the corner of Holbrook Avenue in Detroit’s North End neighborhood, on the city’s near east side.  The House of Masons was a two-story, all brick building with limestone crowning on each end of the building.  The House of Masons was a meeting place for the Most Worshipful National Grand Lodge Of Free And Accepted Ancient Scottish Masons, in other words, it was the meeting place for the “colored” masons.  The House of Masons was eventually closed down after desegregation occurred within the free masons.

In 1960, a small congregation, known as Original Thomas Temple Church, purchased the building and renovated the building into a church.  The interior of the church featured an open sanctuary on the first floor and seating along a balcony on the second floor.  The seats on the second floor would overlook the sanctuary below.  Original Thomas Temple Church was always a small congregation and although the church started off with a strong following, the neighborhood that surrounded the church began to drastically decline.  Parishioners began fleeing to churches in the suburbs, outside of Detroit.  Original Thomas Temple Church and it’s founder, Bishop W.A. Howard, had to file for bankruptcy in 1986.

In 1987, Original Thomas Temple Church was closed for good.  The building has remained abandoned ever since.  Original Thomas Temple Church was actually somewhat preserved (besides the constant water damage) because the building remained secure for many years.

As of 2015, Original Thomas Temple Church was secured again and still remains abandoned.  There are no current plans for the former church.