On July 5th, come celebrate 150 years of 1st United Methodist Church. Learn more by clicking here.
As the story goes, Bishop Asbury of the Methodist Church came to the Maryville area back in 1813 preaching at a place called "Methodist Hill" (the current site of the Olympia condominiums). It was said that "the whole town came out to hear him."
In 1815 The Mount Gilead Methodist Episcopal Church was organized with a log church going up in 1822.
Divisions in the American Methodist Church in 1844 forced a split that put the Mount Gilead Church in the Southern division of the church. By 1860 the small church had outgrown its log structure moving to a larger building at the corner of Church and Norwood.
The new Methodist Episcopal Church South would eventually succumb to the ravages of war, conflicting loyalties and dissension among its members. The church briefly closed and the doors were actually nailed shut.
In June 1865 the Methodist Episcopal Church was re-organized in the Holston Conference at Athens. At this point there were two separate congregations meeting in the same building. In 1869 property rights were granted to the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (now Broadway United Methodist). The M.E. Church (now 1st United Methodist) then met in the New Providence Presbyterian Church before moving into a new building in 1871 on Harper Street.
Membership continued to grow and in 1891 the congregation moved into a new building on Main Street. Following the arrival of the Aluminum Company of America the community and the church continued to prosper. A second Main Street Church was built in 1923 at the same location as the first .
By 1955 membership had tripled and another expansion was needed. In 1960 the Holston Conference authorized the purchase of property on Montvale Station Road where the church stands today.
The first service in the new sanctuary was held on October 29, 1967. An addition to the building was completed in 1996. The official birthdate of First United Methodist was in 1865 even though the church's origins date back decades earlier. First United Methodist Church has hosted 38 pastors and 16 associate pastors
Information for the Church History was taken from two sources, "The History of First United Methodist Church" which includes the writings and recollections of Nettie Spraker first published in 1967, then updated in 2004. The other source is "The People's History of Broadway United Methodist Church," as compiled by Herma Cate and James Russell, published in 1984.