The present Central United Methodist Church building was constructed in 1889-1890 to replace a brick church built in 1862; it is a massive, low, Ionia-sandstone structure with a Late Victorian sanctuary trimmed in red oak. Designed by Elijah E. Myers, the architect of the Michigan State Capitol, Central United Methodist is, along with the First Baptist Church, one of the finest Richardsonian Romanesque churches in Michigan’s lower peninsula outside of Detroit.
Located at the northwest corner of North Capitol Avenue and West Ottawa Street, Central United Methodist Church faces south onto the Capitol square. The structure consists of the church proper, built in 1889-90, and, to the north, the 1922-23 Temple House and the 1942 Mary-Sabina Chapel. The church is a massive and low, Richardsonian Romanesque structure of dark red Ionia (Michigan) sandstone, one hundred fifty feet long by eighty-six feet wide, with shallow transepts. The broad south front has an eighty-five-foot high square tower at the street corner and – at its southwest corner—a lower, half-round tower. Typical of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, the building is characterized by strong massing, rough stonework, semi-circular Romanesque arches at the doors and windows, and asymmetrical massing on the south (front) and east elevations.