Huntsville's First United Methodist Church, located at 1016 Sam Houston Avenue, has served as a key institution in Walker County for over 150 years. Throughout its long history, First United Methodist has provided its parishioners with spiritual sustenance and community support. The church has grown over the years experiencing significant change and times of great hardship. Despite its many transformations, however, the church and its congregation have enriched the local community.
The first Methodist congregation in Huntsville began in the 1830s at Martha's Chapel, located ten miles south of town. According to records from the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, on Saturday, February 17, 1855, "it was unanimously voted that the Methodist Brethren at this place have use of this House the second and fourth Sabbaths in each month with the privilege of holding prayer meetings once a week as per their request, etc." In 1857, W.M Barrett constructed the First Methodist church building in Huntsville. Rev. A. Davis served as the church's pastor at the time, while Thomas and Sanford Gibbs, Robert and Williamson Wynne, and Dr. J.A. Thomason served on the board of trustees. Rev. Robert Alexander preached the dedication sermon. In 1888, the brick building was reconstructed to compensate for the growing congregation. In 1900, a large wooden structure was added onto the back of the building, which became the Sunday School department.
In 1910, a fire destroyed the Sunday School and also damaged the main auditorium and organ. Rev. E.W. Solomon led the effort to construct a new building. In 1913, the building project was completed under the pastorate of Rev. R.W. Adams. However, peace was short-lived. On February 25, 1918, the First Methodist building was again destroyed by fire. The community of Huntsville rallied together to rebuild the First Methodist again. In 1919, the church was reconstructed as a duplicate of the previous building. In 1934, the church installed a set of Deagan Tower Chimes, which are today one of a few remaining sets in Texas. Between 1954 and 1972, First United Methodist Church experienced a period of growth, adding an educational building, nursery, a social hall with a kitchen and ten classrooms. In 1991, a new building was constructed, adding church offices, classrooms and an assembly room. First United Methodist Church has thrived in Walker County for more than 150 years because of the strength of its people. Their passion for ministry and mission is FUMC's most lasting legacy.