St. Martin Lutheran Church

805 Chestnut Street

 

Historic Name: 

Architecture:

    Style:                        Contemporary

    Description:              This is a symmetrical, rectangular structure.  The simple, straight walls are made of narrow, beige colored cut stone.  The roofline is flat.  The double front door is centered, and to the immediate right are rectangular panes of glass reaching to the top of the door.  A flat overhang extends from the doors to the far right.  On the right is a small square tower extending above the roofline.  A cross adorns the tower, which is flanked by a vertical row of windows.  A large inset cross is above and left of the front door.  Tall rectangular colored glass windows are located on the sides of the building.

 

Significant Period:

    Construction Date:     1953-1954

    Architect/Builder:       Charles Valentine

    Context:                    St. Martin congregation formed in 1884.  Later that year, a wood frame church was built on the east side of Eight Street, between Chestnut and Union Streets.  For many years services were conducted in German.  Membership grew, and In 1916 a parish hall and school were built.  Rev. Gideon Rausch served a pastor at this time from 1911 to 1929.  The rectory was located first at 1324 Eighth, then 1322 Eighth, then 1325 Eighth Street.  Rev. Walter Fritz was pastor when the congregation completed the current church building west of Eighth in 1954.  The church has housed Mid City Nutrition Program, the only community soup kitchen, for the last fifteen years.  Charles M. Valentine, who designed the current structure, was a noted local architect.  His works included Wilson Block, Fox Building, Sparlingville Elementary School, Faith Medical Care Facility, and monastery of the Christian Brothers in Birmingham, Michigan.