FIRST METHODIST CHURCH OF LAGRANGE

Manuscript MS-138

1884-1999


Source: First Methodist Church, October 1995

Size: 6.3 linear feet

Shelving Units: 7 Manuscript Boxes, 2 Slide Boxes, 2 Photo Boxes, 10 Volumes, 1 Oversized Photo and 5 Rolls

Processing: LBJ, November 2002

 

Historical Note:

LaGrange First United Methodist Church was built in 1827 and congregated in January 1828 on its present site on Broad and Vernon Streets. The church was a part of the LaGrange Circuit of the Columbus District. The first assigned minister, the Reverend John Hunter, followed the Reverend Jesse Boring and founded several churches in the Circuit. By 1841, the Methodist church had grown to the extent that it required its own assigned minister.

The church has had a total of five sanctuaries since its founding in 1827. The first, built in 1827, was constructed of hewn logs. This structure was replaced in 1831 by one of frame construction. In 1858, the third sanctuary was completed. Built by Littleton L. Burke, the sanctuary was constructed in the Federal Style using red brick and featured a broad flight of stairs leading to the classic facade that was framed by six fluted white columns.

In 1897, the members agreed to tear down the 1858 structure and build a fourth sanctuary upon this spot. While it was being built, the congregation met in the old courthouse building. Designed by Alexander Bruce, of Bruce and Morgan of Atlanta, the church combines both Gothic and Romanesque styles. The building included one large stained glass rose window constructed by W. W. Orr.

The current sanctuary, designed by Bothwell & Nash and built by Traylor Construction, was similar in appearance to the 1858 building. Construction began in March 1963 and the first service was on Easter Sunday, March 29, 1964.

During part of the Civil War, the First Methodist Church served as a Confederate Hospital. In the last half of the 19th century, the First Methodist Church expanded in both size and programs. Many new educational programs were adopted. The work of the Methodist Woman's Home Missionary Society grew in scope as well. In addition to home mission work, the church began to support foreign missions.

Throughout the 20th century, the church continued to grow and serve the spiritual and community needs of the people of LaGrange. At various times, the church allowed the LaGrange Board of Education to use the facilities for classrooms and other educational uses, especially 1942-1946 when it housed LaGrange High School.

 

Scope and Content:

The LaGrange First Methodist Church collection provides a snapshot of the church from 1884 until the late 1990s. This collection is augmented by the church history, Where Your Treasure Is: A History of LaGrange First Methodist Church, written by Troup County Historian, Forrest Clark Johnson, III. Materials contained in this collection include; Board of Trustees' records, bulletins, Sunday school attendance records, newsletters, correspondence, audits, building projects, blue prints, slides and photographs.

 

Series Description:

Series I: Programs, Publications and Members
4 Boxes

This series covers aspects of Church life as they relate to the local church and contains bulletins, newsletters, Sunday school attendance records, church publications, correspondence and histories. General correspondence of the church includes: thank you letters, church directories, requests to form organizations and appeals to vote for or against national Methodist church policies. The series also contains a card for each member who served during World War Two. These cards have news clippings from the Mentor (the church's monthly wartime newsletter) attached and other correspondence such as postcards from the service men and woman.

Series II: Business Records
4 Boxes and 10 Volumes

The second series in the collection covers business matters of the church and contains Board of Trustees' minutes. Also contained are financial records of other church boards, budgets, investments, audits, ledgers and official correspondence. The correspondence concerns requests for repairs, audit requests, thank you letters, request from local and state businesses and resolutions.

Series III: Buildings and Property
14 Folders and 5 Rolls

Series III contains information pertaining to the church property, physical plant and associated equipment such as musical instruments, landscaping and building projects, appraisals, sketches and blue prints. These records span a period from 1910 to the 1990s and cover repairs to the organ after the 1909 fire, building specifications and building remodeling blue prints.

Series IV: Photographs and Slides
3 Boxes and 1 OPP

These images are from the 1970s through 1980s and are of the youth programs, Christmas decorations and church sponsored trips. There is also one oversized class photo from the early 1900s.

 

Container List:
Series 1: Programs, Publications & Members

Box 1 First United Methodist Church Publications
Folders
1 Bulletins for Special Services 1932-49
Installation Service 12/4/1932
Day of Dedication 3/1943
Victory in Europe 5/8/1945
Dedication of Cathedral Organ Chimes 7/25/1948

2 Program Guides for Special Services 1950-59
Loyalty Sunday 6/27/1954

3 Program Guides for Special Services 1960-69
Last service in old Sanctuary 3/1963
Opening Day Services - Easter 3/29/1964
Dedication Service Programs 10/19/1967

4 Program Guides for Special Services 1970-79
Lord's Supper 1972
Bicentennial 4th of July Service 7/4/1976
Parsonage Dedication Service 5/7/1978
Sesquicentennial Celebration 5/7/1978

5 Program Guides for Special Services 1980-89
Organ Concert 9/1981
Dedication of Children's Building 8/1984
Farewell service for Rev. Joe Bowen 6/1984
United Methodist Woman Christmas Banquet 1984

6 Program Guides for Special Services 1990-99
Christmas 1993
Wesley Covenant Service (nd)

7-9 Newspaper Articles, 1930 - 1979

10 Pamphlets 1940-49
Your Church Wants You to Know 1943
Crusade for Christ 1946

11 Pamphlets 1950-69
Special Edition Bulletin 6/29/1955
Contributors to the Sanctuary Building Fund 7/1/1962
1828-1962 Today, Let's Build the Church of Tomorrow October 1962

12 Pamphlets (Undated)
Welcome to the First United Methodist Church of LaGrange, Ga. Time and Talent Survey
Educational Building Ballot
The People Called Methodists

13 Pamphlet
Sunday School Teacher's Handbook.

14 Pamphlet
You Are a Part of the Ministry of Ushering. Edited by Dr. Gil Watson

15-16 General Church Correspondence 1884-1999

17 History of LaGrange United Methodist Church 1828-1951
By Mary Park Polhill
Hand written draft by Mary Park Polhill
The same article as it appeared in the 1944 Mentor
Our Heritage of 116 years: A History of LaGrange First Methodist Church 1828-1944 by Mary Park Polhill. Mentor, 1944

18 History of Woman's Missionary Society

19 History of the Mary Will Thompson Sunday School Class
A History of the Mary Will Thompson Sunday school Class (nd)
Presentation letter for Mary Will Thompson Portrait 6/28/59

Box 2 Methodist (National or Regional) or First Methodist Church Publications
The Mentor (LFMC wartime magazine)
Vol 1 No 2, 3, 6, 11
Vol 2 No 7-8, 9-10
Vol 3 No 6, 7-8, 9
Leaders Edge Vol 1 No 5 Vision 2000 Edition
Wesleyan Christian Advocate, Vol 142 5/4/78 ((Special issue honoring LFMC)
Journal of the North Georgia Conference 1984
Patterns of Progress
Advent Devotionals 1983 Contributions by church members
First Methodist Episcopalian Church Directories
1910 & 1923
First United Methodist Church Directories
1976, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1989 & 1993

Box 3 Miscellaneous membership or attendance records
Folders
1 Sunday school Class Attendance for the Mary Polhill Class
1963, 1965, 1967, 1970, 1972-73, 1973-74 & 1975-76

2 Golden Age Club Records 1961-65, 1965-67, 1967-68
3-5 Church Guest Books 1943-59, 1943-63, 1959-63
6 Church address book n.d.

Box 4
Cards of World War Two Service Members with photos, letters and news clippings from the Mentor

Series II Church Business Records
Box 1 Board of Trustees Records

Folders
1-11 Investments 1949-64
12-14 Meeting Minutes 1945-49, 1955-64
15 Contents of FMC Safe Deposit Box 1961
16-19 Correspondence 1943-48
20 Sale of Cotton Dividend from Callaway Mills 1946-48
21 Church Budget 1954-57
22 Notes Payable 1959-65
23-26 Trustee's Annual Reports 1942-46, 1950-63
27 Trustee's Balance Reports 1943-48
28 Board of Trustee's Cash Ledger 1943-48

Box 2 Other church Boards and Records
Board of Stewards Records 1936 - 1952
Official Church Board Records 1956 - 1965
Commission on Education Minutes 1964 - 69

Box 3 Financial Documents
Folders
1 Insurance Policies 1905-09
2 Loan Release 1937
3 Bills (Sample) 1906-1929
4 Audits 1963, 1968 & 1979
5 Church Budgets 1944-51 & 1965-66
6 End of Fiscal Year Letters regarding pledges1948-49

Box 4
Quarterly Conference Records 1941-47, 1965-69

Volumes
1-6 Business Expense and Income Ledgers 10/1950-01/1954, 1959-1960, 1965, 1970 (2 vol.) & 1976
7-10 Annual Pledge Record 1931-32, 1956-46, 1955-56 & 1962-63

Series III Buildings and Property
(Housed with Series II, Box 4)
Folders
1 Sunday school Building Campaign 1936-39
2 Stained Glass Window Repairs 1941 & 1954
3 Landscaping project 1944-48
4 Church Discipline Covering Property 1952
5 Air Conditioning of Church 1955
6 Appraisal of Vernon St. House 1955 and appraisal of Church Property 1958 (w/2 photos of church attached)
7 Longley Broad St. Property Acquisition 1955
8 Smith Broad St. Property Acquisition 1955
9 Definition of Church's Real Property 1956
10 Musical Instruments Repair, Replace and donated 1911-73

(Housed with Series II, Box 3)
Folders
1 Specifications for Sunday School Building and Parsonage
2 Blue Prints for Parsonage
3 Specifications for new educational building 1958
4 Specifications for sanctuary 1962

Building Plans, Rolls
Roll 1 1939 Sunday school detail plans for construction
Roll 2 1957 Sanctuary and fellowship hall plans. Includes completed and proposed plans.
Roll 3 1982 Remodeling plans for entire church.
Roll 4 Remodeling plan for the sanctuary building (nd)
Roll 5 1990 Elevator and enclosed walk addition and demolition plan for structures to be moved.

Series IV Photographs and Slides
Box1
Folders
1 Unidentified 1976
Holy Land Trip 1977
Vacation Church School, 1977
Unidentified 1978-79

2 Miscellaneous, 1980
Wedding Party, 1981
Trip to Pennsylvania, 1981
Youth Programs, June 1982

3-20 Youth Programs/Trips June 1982-July 1984

Box 2
Folders
1-5 Youth Programs/Trips July 1984-December 1984
6-11 Unidentified slides

Box 3
Vacation Church School 1984

Related Collections at the Troup County Archives:

ART 1983.17 First Methodist Church Decorative Plate. A large image of the 1898 Sanctuary is the focal point of this plate.
Georgia Book Where Your Treasure Is: A History of LaGrange First Methodist Church by Forrest Clark Johnson, III
MS 086/Ph1&2 Photo of the interior of the fourth Church and one of the organist.
PCS 003 Postcard of the First Methodist Church
RB 069 Church bulletins from 1942-1993 (27 Volumes)
RB 091 1999 Church Directory
RB 132 1985 Church Yearbook
TRP 096f3 Images of the 1848 Sanctuary and of the exterior/interior of the 1898 Sanctuary.