First United Methodist Church
To Know Christ and to Make Him Known
110 N. Cass Street
Wabash, IN 46992
Phone: (260) 563-3108
History of the First United Methodist Church cont.
The cornerstone of the present building was laid on September 7, 1898 and the dedication was held on March 11, 1900 with Bishop Joyce featured. According to the Plain Dealer of that day, all the other Protestant churches of Wabash adjourned their services that day to attend the dedication. It was estimated that more than 1800 people were in attendance. Many of what appear to be walls today could be opened up for seating. The large curtain wall in the rear of the sanctuary was raised and seats were available on the second floor. Behind the balconies, windows could be raised to provide seating in what are now just storage areas. It was recorded that the base of the dome is 20 feet in diameter, and the extreme height is 114 feet. There were gas lights in the dome and 175 other lights throughout the building lighted by electricity. In the 1980"s the old gas lights were removed from storage in the attic and taken by those in the congregation who were interested in "antiques!" The cost of erecting the building was $19,844 and final costs were
$32, 170.40 including $1,234.60 for the stained glass windows, $1,090.00 for the pews, and $4,100 for the land. This also included a sum for moving the organ from the old church to the new location.
After completion of the new building, the old church was sold to the Catholic Church for $5,500 plus two lots. Records indicate that one of these lots was the location of the previous Catholic Church building. This building is still standing and is located on Maple Street just west of Fisher Street. It was used for several years as a garage for the city bus line [which no longer exists]. In 1902-03, a two story brick home was built just west of the church on Sinclair Street to serve as a parsonage. This was used until 1982 and razed two years later to make room for the present parking lot. A barn and hitching post were built at the back of the lot, and a hitching rack was also located at the Sinclair Street entrance of the church. In the early days, Sinclair Street was called ___clair Street evidently to avoid the use of the word, sin, in the church address. In 1948, the former women's room was redecorated and furnished as a memorial chapel by the Fred Collinge family as a double tribute to Fred's father, John, who served as a minister in the Methodist church for 38 years, and to Fred's son, Captain Duane Collinge who died in World War II. From 1948 to 1950 considerable remodeling was done to the church property. This included: building of five new rooms in the dining room area, now used by Kid's First and various Sunday School classes; installation of a new heating plant and insulation of the building. The cupola on the church which can be seen in old photographs was judged to be a safety menace to the building and was removed. And the sanctuary was redecorated.
During the spring of 1966, construction was started on a new addition--an educational unit at the northwest corner of the church. Included in the addition were two rest rooms and four new classrooms, nursery, and kindergarten rooms. At the same time, classroom and pews which had been in the area behind the large rising curtain wall were removed. The space was used to construct a kitchenette, storage space, and the current Wesley Room. Later renovations have changed the usage for the first floor of this addition to office space, a library, and a conference room.
Sinclair Street Window
Cass Street Window
Chancel with organ
First Methodist Church - 1922