Part of the façade of the First Congregational Church of Detroit crumbled to the ground Thursday; the church the apparent victim of age and decay.

“No discernible cause other than age and lack of maintenance to what is, unfortunately, a relatively soft material,” Detroit preservationist Francis Grunow wrote on his Facebook page. “I fear ... many of our most beautiful structures are in dire need of repair.”

The church at was established in 1844. The current building at Forest and Woodward was built in 1891.

It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1974 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places five years later. An addition to the church, designed by noted architect Albert Kahn, was finished in 1921.

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