A Brief Time Line of First Church

The history of Appleton, Lawrence University and the First United Methodist Church are interrelated. Appleton streets named after United Methodist and Lawrence early leaders are Johnston, Bateman, Randall, Douglas, Bennett, Mason, and Lawrence.


1840s Appleton is just a few shanties along the Fox River.


1846 Amos Lawrence, of Massachusetts, offers $10,000 to Wisconsin Methodists to start a college. Methodist raise $11,000 to qualify for a matching grant.


1847 Lawrence (Institute) chartered Samuel Appleton, son-in-law of Amos Lawrence, gives $10,000 to begin school library and city gets a name: Appleton.


1848 Rev. Sampson conducts first Methodist Class Meeting in Johnston shanty on Johnston Street (back of Conkey’s Book Store). First sermon preached to 14 people. Rev. Asa Randall appointed first pastor of the church.


1850 To about 1855. Church meets in Johnston Shanty, Lawrence Building, and later in Lawrence Chapel.


1855 Over 120 members-First church building-50’ x 60’, built for $5,500 on College Avenue next to where the Episcopal Church now stands.


1868 Nearly 300 members-180 in Sunday School. Sold old church and build new building on corner of Lawrence and Morrison Streets for $16,000. Parsonage adjacent purchased.


1872 Fire destroys church building and most records. New building started, but construction halted by Depression. Basement covered over and used for several years.


1879 New building completed for $40,000.


1920 Congregation outgrew building, roof leaks, furnace needs extensive repair. Present lot much too small for future needs. Long Range Planning committee recommends building new building elsewhere.


1921 Dr. J. Archibald Holmes appointed pastor. Building plans laid shortly.


1925 On October 25, new church consecrated at a cost of $350,000. Austin Organ said to be best this side of Mormon Tabernacle.


1932 German Methodist Conference merges with Wisconsin Conference. Building is now Unitarian Church.


1945 Burned mortgage on October 25, 1945-20th anniversary of consecration.


1947 Purchased parsonage on southeast corner of Drew and Franklin Streets for senior pastor.


1950 Dr. Ralph T. Alton, from Ohio, appointed senior pastor. In 1960 he was elected Bishop and served Wisconsin Conference until 1972.


1963 First Church founded new Methodist mission church at corner of Oneida and Capitol, which is currently St. James United Methodist Church.


1964 Completed and consecrated new wing, including Fellowship Hall, Reception Lounge and Wesley Room, plus class rooms

on top two floors.


1988 Rev. Sharon Brown Christopher (associate pastor 1969-1972) elected Bishop.


1995 Elevator and new corridor from the sanctuary to Fellowship Hall was added. The elevator stops at six levels.


1998 First United Methodist Church celebrated its 150th anniversary, October 8, 1848-1998.


1999 New windows installed in the original part of the building.


2000 Major renovation done on the Austin organ in the sanctuary.


2009 Carillon Bells installed.


2012 Major renovation and renaming of the Gladys Huhn Memorial (Chapel. Air conditioning was added.)

  April 2021  
Upcoming Events


Tuesday Night AA
7:30 PM to 8:30 PM




AA "Young at Heart" Group
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Bible Search
Contents © 2021 First United Methodist Church Appleton, WI • Church Website Builder by mychurchwebsite.netPrivacy Policy