Edmond FUMC History
Fourteen Methodists arrived in what became Edmond and formed a class on April 22, 1889, the day of the Land Run. Oklahoma then was U.S. Indian Territory with a missionary from Kansas in charge of the Methodist religious interests. The brand new town of Edmond, I.T. issued city lots in August 1889. Rev. James E. Roberts of the Frisco Methodist Episcopal Church preached fine sermons either at the school house or at Central Hotel or the Catholic church when he was in town.
We have a postal card, now 125 years old, from Rev. Roberts to Aaron Fretz announcing Roberts arrival in November to organize the Methodist Episcopal Church. Fourteen men and women became the first members of this church. By December 1890, the M.E. Church on Broadway and Hurd began construction of a church building 28x50', supervised by Rev. Joseph H. Brooks and Fannie Morrison (Mrs. Henry), who also organized the Epworth League. First worship services were held in this building on October 18, 1891.
Edmond’s community leaders wanted to establish a two-year Normal School, and began work on a building (now known as “Old North”). Their desire to open was strong and enabled them to open the teacher training school on November 9, 1891, in the newly constructed M.E. Church. Church member Richard D. Thatcher served as the school’s first president and taught classes. The Normal School became Central State College, now the University of Central Oklahoma.
Fourteen years later (1905), the little frame church was turned half way around and a new much larger brick church with an organ joined it. The Sarah Riley Memorial Methodist Church is visible in many pictures of old Edmond. Sadly, 22 years after it was built, the church and most of its contents burned to the ground on Sunday afternoon, November 13, 1927. By Monday morning, plans were underway to relocate. Larger lots were later chosen at Hurd and Jackson, moving away from the noisy location near the railroad and interurban lines.
The cornerstone of our present church was laid on December 30, 1928. Completion of this $60,000 church came two years after the fire, and the church’s architect received a $25 prize for plans drawn for the best church costing under $100,000. Local newspapers contained many stories of construction progress, fund raising and the day-long dedication on June 9, 1929. Not until 1957, 28 years later, was a new Education Addition added, at a cost of $104,000.
Many Edmond streets are named for the college’s first professors who were also members of the Methodist church. We are indeed fortunate to have many documents, letters, photographs and news articles surrounding our history.