The original Methodist Church built at our present location in 1852 was called Spencer Chapel. It was replaced in 1893 with Spencer Church, the same building we occupy today. After a union of Wesley and Spencer Churches in 1913, we became known as the First Methodist Episcopal Church. A merger in 1939 of Methodist churches and Protestant churches nationally resulted in First Methodist Church. In 1968, a final merger nationally with Evangelical United Brethren church resulted in our present name – First United Methodist Church.
For more information on Ironton First United Methodist, you can visit the church website.
Ironton Register, Thursday, February 18, 1892
THE NEW CHURCH
Here are three cuts of the new Spencer M. E. Church of Ironton, which is to be erected this year. where the old church now stands. They represent an exterior view of the church and the main floor and gallery floor plans. The exterior view shows how the church will appear from about the north corner of the Court House square. It shows the front of the church on Fifth street, and the Center street side. The church will be 72 feet across the front, including the towers its length is 128 feet. The tower on the corner is 120 feet high. The gable ends and the other towers mount up 60 feet.
The main entrances are from Fifth street and are plainly showing in the perspective view. Besides these, there are two others about as large, on each side of the building near the rear, which admit to the rear of the auditorium, to the Sunday School rooms, to the galleries, or to the social rooms in the basement. Notice where a walk runs in to the church from Center street at the right in the picture. Now find the corresponding point on the ground floor plan, and there the side steps and entry are represented. On the opposite side, there is another round tower and entrance just like this one.
Let us enter the new sanctuary. Go in at the main tower corner. There is one step to climb to reach the tile floor of the vestibule. Double doors connect the vestibule and the lobby, and these and all other entrance doors swing both ways. Midway of the lobby are four curved steps, by which we reach the auditorium floor level, and may either go up the spiral staircase to the gallery, or enter the auditorium of the church.
We go into the auditorium. The pulpit is between the entrances of the main front. Its position is marked in very small letters in the ground plan. Back of the pulpits is the choir and organ loft, and this little section is calculated to seat 40 persons. The choir gallery is raised about 6 feet above the floor level. The outer circle in front of the pulpit represents the communion rail, and circling around this are the pews. The galleries are high and narrow. They do not obstruct the windows, for they are between the upper and lower windows shown in the side gable in our sketch. The auditorium will have plenty of light. The three large windows, two of which can be seen in the cut, show above the organ and galleries. The windows will be one of the bright features of the auditorium and will afford fine opportunities for memorial designs. The ceiling is broken up and ornamented with big bracketed rafters. The walls will be frescoed, and at the rear is a large frescoed panel, which is really two immense sliding doors, that can be thrown open as they are in our floor plans. They open up both the ground floor and gallery. When closed they completely separate the Sunday School rooms from the auditorium.
The lecture room and class rooms are to be seated with chairs. The primary department which will have quarters in two class rooms on the left, has a separate entrance from the lobby. Opposite the primary department is the secretary’s office, and another double class room. The lecture room is beautifully lighted by a skylight, constructed of the small windows which can be seen in the roof at the rear of our perspective view.
The are important accommodations in the basement of the church also, for special purposes. The space underneath the Sunday School part is one big social room. Its windows show above the grade level in the window. Under each side entry there is a cloak room and toilet room, and next to the cloak room on the parsonage side of the basement will be devoted to the heating apparatus. The basement plan also shows the ladies’ parlor, a fine room 16×24 feet in size under the choir gallery, which is entered from the front lobbies. The windows in the 5th-street front under the large window are in the ladies’ parlor.
It will be seen from these cuts that the new church is to be a handsome and commodious edifice. Old Spencer Chapel, around which cluster so many tender associations, and for whose sacred walls a vast number of people hold a lasting regard, is to give place to a grander and larger structure to meet the increased demands. The subscriptions secured in the last few months are being transferred by the donors into a book, and other subscriptions solicited, as fast as possible, that the work may begin at once. It was decided at the start that the work of the building should not begin till $20,000 was subscribed. This is two-thirds of what the church is expected to cost, completed and ready to hold services. There is yet about $5,000 short of that amount subscribed. A neat prospectus, setting forth the plans, and for which these sketches were made by Mr. J.A. Ricker, the Register artist, is being printed in the interest of the subscription fund. Meanwhile, the architect, Mr. Lindsay of Zanesville, is finishing the detail drawings, and will have them on file here for bids this week.