First United Methodist Church
|Church Faith:||United Methodist|
|Open Date:||First meetings, 1818|
Formal church, by 1840s
|Address:||219 E. 4th Street |
Bloomington, IN 47401
|Services:||Sunday, 9:30 a.m.|
Sunday, 11:00 a.m.
First United Methodist Church was the first Methodist gathering in Bloomington. Meetings of this congregation first began in 1818 in response to the desires of early members to hear Methodist circuit riders who would periodically come to the area to preach. Their first formal meeting house was constructed in 1821. Due to its location in the late 19th and early 20th century a later structure was sometimes referred to as the College Avenue Methodist Church The church was first organized as a Methodist Episcopal church, becoming United Methodist in 1968.
The church saw several expansions over the years to accomodate the ever increasing size of the congregation. In 1909 Badgley & Nicklas was engaged to build a new church, and the church became known as "The Cathedral of Indiana Methodism". A photo of the church at that time can be viewed here. In 1937 the church suffered a major fire in which the entire interior structure of the building was destroyed, leaving just the external walls standing. It was presumed that an electrical short in the dome of the church was the source of the fire. The damage from the fire was extensive, but the exterior walls and the foundation were intact. H. M. King of Louisville was engaged to draw plans for reconstruction and the church was rebuilt shortly thereafter. The original lantern dome over the auditorium, damaged beyond repair, was removed and a tower added at the southwest corner of the building. Additional expansions and renovations occurred in the late 1990s and early 2000s.