Director of Childrens’ Ministries:
In 1852, six years after a local mill was bought by two businessmen, the first religious service in the tiny lumbering town of Menomonie was conducted by Rev. Mayne, a Methodist Episcopal circuit rider minister based in Stillwater, Minnesota.
From 1854 to 1856, nondenominational religious services were conducted in the lumber company’s school by a Baptist who taught in the school, worked in the shingle mill, and preached.
In 1857, with the population over 1,000, the Methodist Episcopal Church Society was organized, the first organized religious group in town. It held services in the Knapp, Stout & Company school. After the Congregationalists organized in 1861, the Methodists and the Congregationalists alternated morning and evening services in the school.
The Evangelical United Brethren church began in the area in 1860, when religious services were conducted in homes in Iron Creek, a few miles east of Menomonie, and in town. In 1863 an Evangelical church was built in Iron Creek. The Iron Creek pastors led religious services in Menomonie homes until a church, the Zion Church of the Evangelical Association of North America, was built in 1876.
After a Menomonie public school was built in 1864, the Methodists and Congregationalists continued to share the new school for services until 1866, when the Methodists built a small church at Fourth Avenue and Second Street West. The two denominations shared the new church until the Congregationalists built their own church in 1870.
In 1877, the Methodists moved their church on a horse-drawn sled to the corner of Wilson Avenue and 6th Street. The Methodists would remain on this corner until 1979, 102 years.
Late in the 1890s, after the building was damaged by fire, the Methodists built a new building around the old one. The church, called the Centenary Methodist Episcopal Church, was dedicated on January 20, 1901. In 1922, the church was remodeled again.
In 1923, the Evangelical Church built a new building, called the First Evangelical Church, on the corner of Wilson and Seventh Street.
From 1920 to 1940, the Methodist Episcopal Church absorbed eight other churches—the German Methodist Episcopal Church in town and Methodist churches from tiny nearby settlements. The Episcopal name was dropped nationally in 1939.
In 1946, the national Evangelical Church and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ merged to become the Evangelical United Brethren Church. The Menomonie church became First Church Evangelical United Brethren ( E.U.B.).
In 1965, Trinity Methodist Church needed more room for its Sunday School classes, so it bought a residence at the end of the block and called it Trinity House.
In 1966, the First Church Evangelical United Brethren celebrated its 90th anniversary.
But a major change for both churches was coming. The national Methodist Church and the national Evangelical United Brethren church were discussing merger. The local Evangelical United Brethren church was across the street from the Methodist church. The two local churches discussed their own merger and in 1966 began alternating joint services in the two buildings.
The two churches merged in 1967, nine months before the national merger was officially completed in 1968.
After the merger, worship services were conducted in the former E.U.B. church, now called the United Methodist Church, with the former Trinity Methodist Church and Trinity House being used for Sunday School classes and offices.
Within a few years, the building arrangements were causing problems. The new church had three buildings to heat and keep in repair, there were many steps to climb, and children had to cross the street to attend classes.
In 1978, the church build a new single story building on Bongey Drive, on Menomonie’s largely undeveloped southwest side. The congregation moved into the unfinished and unfurnished church in February 1979 and the Consecration Celebration was May 6, 1979.
The “new” church building is no longer new, but the more than 150 year history of Methodism in Menomonie shows the Menomonie United Methodist Church will continue serving the community as it develops disciples for Christ.