First Congregational Church

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  7. First Congregational Church
412 4th Street, Manistee, MI, United States

ARCHITECT: William Lebaron Jenny

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places,the First Congregational Church of Manistee was founded on July 20, 1862, with 10 charter members. Their intent was “to join together for the purpose of supporting public worship of God and promoting Christian knowledge and charity.” This is actually the second church built for the congregation as by 1887, they had already outgrown their first building which was an old school house on the corner of Second and Oak Streets. This church has a capacity of 1,000 and was built for an original cost of $60,000.

The outside of the building is red brick and stone with terra cotta trim. The red bricks for the building were shipped in from across the lake by boat. The foundation stone came from Sturgeon Bay. The roof is black slate. The rain gutters are actually built between the inside wall and the outside wall, so they cannot be seen from either side. There are copper and black steel ornamental pieces decorating the outside walls.

This magnificent Romanesque church is probably best known for its extravagant stained-glass windows, two of which were created by the studio of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Many of these beautiful, vibrant windows were given to the church in honor or in memory of Manistee lumber barons, shipping industrialists and locally known families of the late nineteenth century.

The stately 132 foot clock tower also holds the bell which was crafted by McNeely Bell Company, of Troy, New York. It was considered to be a beautiful specimen of workmanship. The bell is approximately five and a half feet in diameter and weighs 3,200 pounds. Today, you can still hear the deep sound of the bell being struck on the hour. Every hour. Every day. 365 days a year.

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