From the Library Archives: The Methodist Church by Nancy Watts

The Methodist Church (left) and the Methodist parsonage (right)

The Methodist Church was built in 1886 at the corner of Broadway and 5th Ave North (where the current church is). The church was dedicated Oct. 31, 1886. The Lewistown Methodists shared the church with the high school for classroom space in 1899-1900. In 1902 the church congregation was becoming so large that they decided to build a new church of native stone. Prior to building the new stone church, this wooden church was moved across the street to the north side of the 400 block on Broadway. In 1905 it was sold to M.L. Woodman who tore it down in 1916 in order to construct a warehouse of the Fergus County Hardware at the corner of Broadway and 4th Ave. North.

The Methodist parsonage was built in 1892. “Watkins and Wunderlin have taken a contract for a Methodist Parsonage to be built at the side of the church. Work will begin at once …” (“Fergus County Argus, Oct. 20, 1892). It was used as a parsonage until 1914. …. “May 1914 to August 1916, Mrs. Belle Harmon lived in the old parsonage which was used as a social center and her headquarters as church financial secretary.” (“History of Lewistown”). Then it was rented until August 1919 when it was sold on the stipulation that it be moved away.

The Methodists built this stone church in 1903-1905 to replace the old frame building.

“The one thing the Methodist people need is more room to accommodate their large and increasing congregations.” (“Fergus County Argus,” January 28, 1903).

“Work has begun upon the foundation for the new Methodist Church, and it is probable now that the building will be erected at once. (“Fergus County Argus,” September 30, 1903).

 The Cornerstone of the church was laid Nov. 28, 1903.

“Contractors John Laux and Pete Tus have resumed work on the new Methodist Church building and expect to have the stone work completed by June 1st.” (“Fergus County Argus,” April 6, 1904).

“The new Methodist Church is rapidly nearing completion…The [native] stonework is all completed with the exception of a little remaining to be done on the tower. The roof is on and all that remains to be done is the interior finishing. The windows have been shipped but have not as yet put in an appearance…The building will cost when completed $15,000 and will have a seating capacity of 450.” “(Fergus County Argus, August 24, 1904).

“The carpenters are busy this week completing the tower on the new Methodist Church.” (“Fergus County Argus,” November 2, 1904).

“The Methodist church situated at 5th Ave. and Broadway is a distinct ornament to the city. It is not as yet fully completed but it will be finished by Spring. It is constructed entirely of white stone… The entrance to the building is at the corner under the tower. The church will have a large seating capacity and is well suited to the needs of this rapidly growing denomination. The building will cost when completed approximately $18,000. The contractors were Anderson and Partridge.” (“Fergus County Argus” December 28, 1904).

“The new first Methodist Church will be thrown open for the first time since its completion tonight.” (“Fergus County Argus,” March 15, 1905).

The 120-foot Milwaukee crane hooked onto the old steeple atop the first Methodist church. The steeple is being removed so that masonry men can repair the crumbling stonework at the top of the church. September 20, 1961.

On August 20, 1976, this church burned, and it was replaced by the current building.

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