Methodist Church has rich history

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 13, 2004


The present brick building was designed by Philadelphia architect, Benjamin D. Price and was constructed between 1895 and 1897. The building is an example of the Victorian Gothic style of architecture. A belfry rises from the northwest corner of the building to a height of 55 feet. The interior vaulted ceiling of the sanctuary is made of stained beaded pine. The Gothic design prevails in the wainscot around the wall and in the framing of the windows and doors.

A remodeling project of the sanctuary was undertaken in 1962 and completed in 1963 with Clarence Brooker as the general contractor. The seating arrangement was improved, the choir loft was enlarged and the pulpit was moved from the South side of the building to its present location. The three-story education building on the corner of Cedar and Decatur Streets was built in 1926 and 1927. The building was completely renovated in 1992. In 1973 the addition of a second education building was added to provide improved kitchen facilities, restrooms, classrooms, offices, and a fellowship hall.

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The beautiful stained glass windows in the sanctuary were selected in New York by the Demopolis minister, Henry Trawick. Each window is a work of art depicting a scene in the Bible. All of the windows were given by individual members to honor or in memory of someone. All of the windows except “The Great Commission”, “Christ Blessing a Child” and the transom window are the original windows installed in 1896.

One of the original pews and a cabinet containing artifacts from the antebellum church are located in the north alcove.

The magnificent organ in the sanctuary was installed in 1988. The organ was built by the Holtkamp Organ Company, the oldest pipe organ firm currently active in the United States. The organ was designed for the sanctuary and the requirements of the church; it has 26 stops and 34 ranks of pipes.

The bell which rang from the belfry of the antebellum church hangs in the courtyard between the sanctuary and the education buildings. The 800-pound bell made of brass, nickel and silver was cast in 1845 by the Buckeye Bell Foundry in Cincinnati, Ohio. The bell was a gift from a noted Alabama steamboat Captain, Monroe Quarrier. The bell cracked when it was used at the annual conference in 1919.

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