Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church was built in 1911 at 8501 Woodward Avenue, at the corner of Philadelphia Street, just outside of Detroit’s New Center neighborhood. Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church was designed in English Gothic style by prominent church-architect, Sidney Rose Badgely. Badgely had designed many church’s throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania. The rough, dark reddish-brownstone church is accessorized with light-colored limestone throughout the church’s façade. Its most distinguishing feature is a tall, octagonal-shaped lantern that rises from the center of the roof that is flanked by twin towers that surround the church’s entrance. The lantern-dome-crowned church is Badgley’s calling card, and Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church is among his finest works and a unique landmark.
Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church’s congregation had over 2,200 members by 1921. That number would continue to stay fairly steady, until the 1960’s when many members were leaving Detroit for the northern suburbs. Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church had fewer than 1000 members in 1961 and only 404 left in 1971. In 1991, Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church’s congregation had dropped al the way down to just a couple hundred of members by 1990.
In 1993, the congregation split from the Presbyterian church, eventually becoming the Abyssinia Interdenominational Church. Unfortunately, Abyssinia Interdenominational Church wouldn’t last very long. When the pastor died in 2005, Abyssinia Interdenominational Church was closed. The closing was supposed to be a temporary closing, but by 2008, scrappers had began to enter the church and steal all of it’s valuables. It became obvious that the church was not going to re-open.
By 2010, Woodward Avenue Presbyterian had fallen into despair and became a urban explorer destination. As with Detroit’s Michigan Central Station, Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church attracted people from all over the world.
In 2012, the movie “Alex Cross” was filmed at the former church.
In 2014, the church has been purchased by a group looking to convert the building into a residential shelter.
As of 2015, work has begun on cleaning up the former Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church. Crews have started to repair the leaking roof and board up missing windows. The church, however, is still abandoned.
Woodward Avenue Presbyterian Church in 2008: