Smith's Chapel

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Smith's Chapel
Smith's Chapel.jpg
Smith's Chapel is located in Michigan
Smith's Chapel
Smith's Chapel is located in the US
Smith's Chapel
Location29858 Redfield Rd, Niles, Michigan
Coordinates41°46′7″N 86°8′44″W / 41.76861°N 86.14556°W / 41.76861; -86.14556Coordinates: 41°46′7″N 86°8′44″W / 41.76861°N 86.14556°W / 41.76861; -86.14556
Area5.5 acres (2.2 ha)
Built byJames Taylor, W. S. Beswick
Architectural styleLate Victorian
NRHP reference #87002224[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 31, 1987
Designated MSHSApril 24, 1979[2]

Smith's Chapel, also known as Smith Chapel, is a historic chapel located at 29858 Redfield Road[3] in Milton Township (near Niles, Michigan). It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1979[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.[1] The chapel is the oldest known church building in Cass County, and probably the oldest in southwest Michigan.


Cannon Smith, the son of George and Sophia Cannon Smith, was born in 1782.[4] He settled in this location in 1829 after moving from his previous home in Delaware. In 1831, traveling Methodist circuit preachers established classes at Smith's home. This led to the organization of the first Methodist church in Milton Township in 1839.[2]

In 1840, the congregation hired James Taylor, a carpenter and joiner, to construct this church building at a cost of $1200.[4] Cannon Smith donated the land, and contributed substantially toward the construction of the church. Because of these contributions, the church was named "Smith's Chapel".

The surrounding cemetery grounds were purchased in 1872.[2] In 1879, contractor W. S. Beswick was hired to remodel the church. The church was used regularly until 1967, and in 1972 Milton Township purchased the structure. In 2008, the chapel underwent substantial restoration.[4] As of 2013, the township owned the chapel, with the surrounding cemetery grounds owned by a non-profit organization, Smith Chapel Cemetery Inc.[3] The building was available for rental as a wedding and funeral chapel.


Smith's Chapel is a single-story wood frame post-and-beam chapel with clapboard siding and a gable roof on a fieldstone foundation.[2] It measures 40 by 48 feet (12 m × 15 m), with a hallway 8 feet (2.4 m) wide across the front, and a 40-by-40-foot (12 m × 12 m) sanctuary.[4] A gabled entrance is on one end with an oculus above. The sides contain round-arch windows with wooden hood molds. Attached to rear of the chapel is a gable-roof, clapboard-sided privy. Cemetery grounds are located near the chapel, containing primarily stone (and one zinc) monuments.


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Smith's Chapel and Cemetery". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Smith Chapel". Milton Townshup.
  4. ^ a b c d Mary Montgomery (May 2000), Smith’s Chapel History

External links[edit]

  • Phtos courtesy of Milton Township