St. Martin Lutheran Church
805 Chestnut Street
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
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.