Registered historic Manistee church gets restoration plan

The First Congregational Church in Manistee

The First Congregational Church in Manistee is finally getting some work done. Ron Sluis has been working towards restoring the church for the past 3 years.

Built over a century ago, the building cost only $60,000 and features a unique romanesque design, a 15 rank organ, and a Nels Johnson Clock tower. Inside, a 3200 lb bell rings with the swing of the 90 lb hammer.

The church is listed on the National Registry of Historic places since it was built so long ago, but 120 years later the money needed to maintain it just isn't there.

"The building was built in 1892 so it is an old building. It went on the national registry in 1975 and it's just an old building. When you get something as beautiful as this building is- it just takes a lot to maintain," Sluis said.

The renovation plan includes improvements such as waterproofing and tuck pointing and cleaning up the clock tower. All work to be done by a restoration company to keep the atmosphere of the historic building. A large part of the project's attention will be devoted to the many stained glass windows in the sanctuary, a favorite feature of the church.

The First Congregational Church is looking for those funds through donations by the community to continue the restoration as well as future maintenance of the building.

"We're going to create a fund through the Manistee Community Foundation so it'll be all tax deductible donations that people can make," Sluis said.ã??

Members of the church and Sluis hope that with good upkeep the church will last another 120 years.

To find out more about the church or to make a donation, check out their website for more information.