Albertville First United Methodist Church
Four years prior to being named Albertville and thirty five years before it was incorporated this area was called Jones Chapel. Sand Mountain was a wilderness and there was not more than a dozen families residing within a radius of ten miles. A mere tractless forest with public roads few and far between. Indian trails were used almost exclusively in making a journey. It was here that the first church was erected in 1856. The Jones Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church South was established by the missionary circuit rider, W.D. Nicholson who began serving the Sand Mountain area in 1853. The Rev. N.A. Neely was the first pastor of the church.
It was not until February 25, 1886 that official church records began, so little is known of our church history before then. However, soon after the Jones Chapel Church was established the Jones Chapel School was built along side of it. Then in the late 1850’s the West Main Street Cemetery was established by the Jones Chapel Church. About 1889 the Jones Chapel church building was sold to the Primitive Baptist and an abandoned church on “Quality Hill” near the juncture of present Jackson Street and Alabama Avenue was rented until a new location could be found. At this time the church was called the Albertville Methodist Episcopal Church South. In 1895 a one room frame structure was erected at the site of the present Albertville First United Methodist Church on the corener of Madison and Glover Streets. In 1898 this little one room frame church was destroyed by a strog windstorm and the congregation secured a tent to continue worshiping in while a new church building was under construction and in 1899 the congregation moved into the new one room frame structure and the church was detached from the circuit and made a station. There was nothing except pews and the elevated pulpit within the one room building in which all classes had to meet. There was very little formalized services in that day. There were no divisions in this one room church, as small groups used every corner for their Sunday School classes. It must have been very difficult in those days to carry on with so little privacy, it being so hard to close your ears to what was going on around you.
However, the congregation was easily fitted into the church and there was room for the Baptist when they came to worship with them. In those days, and especially on fifth Sundays the Methodist and Baptist would work together. The two churches never set their revival time in the same month.
During the years 1899 to 1903 Mrs. Lee C. Brady, through the insistence of her pastor, organized a Junior League, described as a perfect beauty with fifty boys and girls. There were still no additional rooms for more privacy except that a pastor’s study was added to one side of the building. However, many people continued to move in and particularly the farmers, because of the new land surrounding the town and those who were interested in the school. The farmers were full of hope, they lived on hope and they made good church members because theyere were not a people who had to see results almost as soon as they did anything. Many people were added to the church between 1899 and 1903 and it appears that the membership almost doubled during this time.
Everyone who came from any distance, and many did, had to come by horse and buggy. There was a hitching post near the old church building for that purpose. In 1914 a large addition was made to the old church, and for the first time there was a general privacy for each of several Sunday School classes. Talk of a new church building began while the Rev. Nelson Guthrie served as pastor from 1934 – 1937 but plans were not put into action until 1939 when work on a new brick auditorium began. The old frame building was moved to the rear of the grounds where it was remodeled and used as a Sunday School Annex, and then attached to the new brick auditorium. During the construction of the auditorium church services were held in the local Carol Theater building. The new sanctuary became the first air-cooled church in Alabama and some of its costs were raised in selling or auctioning of several personal items of the then famous movie stars. The church was completed in the spring of 1940 and was dedicated on Easter Sunday, April 25, 1945.
Meanwhile, the Methodist Episcopal Church South denominational name was changed, after long debate in 1939 to The Methodist Church; the local church was then called Albertville First Methodist Church.
In 1954 an Educational building was begun as was completed in the spring of 1955. This building was dedicated on March 11, 1956. All church members, during the time of construction, shall never forget the catastrophic event that befell when the rear of the auditorium collapsed during the initial foundation work for this new Sunday School Annex.
IN 1968 there was still another change in the denomination of the church when the Methodist Church joined with the United Brethren Church to become known as the United Methodist Church.