In downtown Chattanooga, a steeple still stands as a marker for the big stone church that once stood at Georgia Avenue and McCallie.
At one time, the stone steeple represented grace and salvation to many newcomers to Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Public Library helped us learn about the history of this beacon of faith.
The library’s Mary Helms said the stone church started when people were coming to Tennessee after the Civil War and the Northerners wanted their own branch of Methodism in the South. They built a modest frame building on the corner of Pine and West 6th street. It took 20 years, but the First Methodist Episcopal Church was dedicated on May 31, 1885.
And Centenary Methodist Church built a better building to compete with the new beautiful stone building.
“The first Methodist Church had a lot of cash, but its membership was dwindling. The other church, the Centenary, had really nice property and a huge membership really didn’t have a lot of cash,” Helms said.
So to continue, they decided to consolidate. In 1967, the congregations merged and the decision was made to tear down the stone church.
The stone steeple still stands as a beacon of faith in the middle of downtown.