"Methodist Episcopal Church, Burlington VT." Published by the Valentine & Sons Publishing Company, New York and Boston. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Vermont.
First United Methodist Church, Burlington VT. Taken by Samantha Ford on November 11, 2012.
Founded in 1832, the Methodist Episcopal Society built a small brick church on the corner of South Winooski Avenue and Buell Street later that year.(1) The church was a wooden framed building with a brick veneer about 40 feet wide by 60 feet long.(2) There was a squat square tower located on the front of the building as the main entrance. The tower was constructed from wood and painted white. This building was later demolished in 1867 to make way for a new much larger church built from stone.
In March of 1855, the congregation was out-growing their little brick church and called to a vote what should be done to solve the problem. Rather than build a new church or construct an addition, 76 members opted to form a second Methodist society and built a church on Pine Street.(3) The churches still functioned under one name, but held services in two locations. This system worked well until the first Methodist society started experiencing financial problems in 1867. At this point the two congregations held another vote and decided to reunite under one roof to pool their resources.(4) The stone church that stands at the corner of South Winooski Avenue and Buell Street is the product of this vote. The cost of this new stone church was $63,941.00.(5)
Today the exterior of the church has changed very little. The members who voted to build this church would still recognize it today. There were several renovations done on the interior to continue to update fire codes and install electricity to bring the church into the 21st century (6).
1. C. A. Castle, A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Burlington, Vermont (Burlington, VT Free Press Association: 1903), 13.
2. C. A. Castle, 14.
3. C. A. Castle, 25-26.
4. C. A. Castle, 24.
5. C. A. Castle, 36.
6. David J. Blow, Historic Guide to Burlington Neighborhoods Volume I (Burlington, VT: 1990), 151-153.