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Fisher Memorial M.E. Church, Detroit, MI

May 7, 2017

The fate of mainline denominations in metropolitan areas is volatile. Detroit is an especially grim example, currently. Let’s hope that the city’s turnaround takes advantage of these wondrous volumes so easily adapted for secular use as performance space — church being a very specialized type of performance.

The former Fisher Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church at Gratiot Avenue and East Grand Boulevard isn’t situated very well for adaptive reuse, being somewhat east of the urban core. But it must have been am impressive facility before falling into rapid decline, having housed three consecutive congregations.

For me, at least, these buildings always appear far larger from the inside than the exterior would lead us to believe. Fisher Memorial is a good case study, not only for that perception, but also for its growth over time. Sanborn fire insurance maps tell part of that story.

The story is beginning to make sense. Next to identify the architect(s).

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