Our network

First Methodist Episcopal Church, built from Stone Mtn. granite, Receives unique distinction | Community Spirit

Title (Max 100 Characters)

First Methodist Episcopal Church, built from Stone Mtn. granite, Receives unique distinction
First Methodist Episcopal Church, built from Stone Mtn. granite, Receives unique distinction

Atlanta, GA--  (submitted by GA Dept. of Natural Resources)

The First Methodist Episcopal Church, South,  located at 360 Peachtree Street, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on December 7, 2010.  The property owner sponsored the nomination and the church historian prepared the nomination materials.

The Methodists were among the first denominations to build a house of worship within the city limits of Atlanta.  They built a small frame church on Peachtree Street at Luckie Street in 1848, the year that Atlanta incorporated as a city.  In 1864 the church bell tolled to warn the residents of the Union Army's impending march into the city.  After the Civil War, the congregation built their second home on Houston Street in 1870.  As Atlanta began its push northward in the early 20th century, the congregation purchased property a few blocks north of their Houston Street location and hired noted Atlanta architect Willis Denny to design their new church home.  The congregation is considered the "Mother Church" of Methodism for Atlanta and was instrumental in helping start other Methodist churches in the area. Today the church is known as Atlanta First United Methodist Church.

The church is an excellent example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. The architect, Willis F. Denny, was a leading architect in Atlanta before his untimely death in 1905.  In addition to this church, which many consider to be his finest, Denny designed several other ecclesiastical buildings in Atlanta including Saint Mark's Methodist Episcopal Church on Peachtree Street and the Inman Park Methodist Church.   His commercial designs include apartment buildings, hotels, and the Jefferson County Courthouse among others.  Many residences, including Rhodes Hall and the Victor Kriegshaber House on Moreland Avenue in Atlanta, were also designed by Denny.  A 1950 addition was designed by Cooper, Bond & Cooper, an Atlanta architectural firm formed in 1945.  Cooper, Bond & Cooper designed many buildings on the University of Georgia campus in Athens as well as many commercial buildings in Atlanta.

This large 1903 church is built of Stone Mountain granite in the Gothic Revival style.  The granite blocks are roughly hewn and of varying sizes.  The diversity of the Gothic style is reflected in the pointed arched entryways, arched stained-glass windows, blind arcade above the central entryway, lancet windows, quatrefoils, pinnacles, and wall buttresses.  Two of the 16 stained-glass windows on the main level have been attributed to Tiffany & Co.  The rest of the windows were made by Mayer & Co. of Munich, Germany and the Von Gerichten Art Glass Co. of Columbus, Ohio. The interior has a spacious sanctuary with a semi-circular pew arrangement and gallery.  The gallery is reached through stairs at either end of the vestibule.  The gallery is located over the vestibule and extends to the pulpit wall on either side.   In addition to the four original brass chandeliers, a central skylight and stained glass windows provide light.  A one-story brick annex, constructed in 1925, is located on the north side of the sanctuary.  A two-story education building, completed in 1950, is located at the back of the sanctuary.  This building houses classrooms, offices, and meeting rooms.  A third floor gymnasium was added to it in 1961.  

The National Register of Historic Places is our country's official list of historic buildings, structures, sites, objects, and districts worthy of preservation.  The National Register provides formal recognition of a property's architectural, historical or archaeological significance. It also identifies historic properties for planning purposes and insures that these properties will be considered in the planning of state or federally assisted projects.  National Register listing encourages preservation of historic properties through public awareness, federal and state tax incentives, and grants. Listing in the National Register does not place obligations or restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer, or disposition of private property.