The original New Bethel Baptist Church was located on Hastings Street, but the congregation was growing so fast that they needed a new location.
The new church took two years to construct and was housed in a former theater on Detroit’s Westside on Linwood and Philadelphia, in an area known as “The Black Bottom.”
An all-black construction company handled the job for the new church, which seated over 2,500 people.
The opening of the church was a momentous occasion, with Reverend C.L. Franklin receiving telegrams from President John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and others.
Shortly after his death from a June 1979 home invasion shooting, Linwood and Philadelphia would be renamed C.L. Franklin Boulevard in the Reverend’s honor.