United Methodist Church – 1879
210 North Almont Avenue
In 1870, thanks to the generosity of Charles Palmer (Imlay City’s founder), joint union services were held in the Bancroft Hotel ballroom by the Congregationalists, the Methodists and the Baptist.
The Imlay City Methodist Episcopal Church had its beginnings when Rev. Laing of Attica held services in the village some time before 1879. These church services were held in the schoolhouse that was located on Bancroft Street but were later discontinued.
Then, in October of 1879 the Methodist Episcopal Church of Imlay City was organized with Rev. Francis Berry as pastor. A small chapel was built in 1879-80. A lumberman named Henry Woodry is reported as the builder and he also served as one of the first trustees.
The church is in the Gothic Revival style and is commonly referred to as Carpenter Gothic. One of the common features of this style is the buttressing. The church features beautiful stained glass windows. A large circular Rose (or Catherine) window is found on the western wall of the building, which is the common placement for such windows. Its purpose is to create a “heavenly light” that symbolizes the presence of God in the church.
In 1882-83 the present brick church was erected at a cost of $2,500. There were 57 members at that time. The cornerstone was laid April 23, 1882 by Rev. Thomas G. Patten. During its first 30 years there were 16 different ministers.
The building has served as a house of worship for many families through the years. An addition was made to the church in 1931 with materials and labor donated by church members and the efforts of the Ladies’ Aid.
In 1939 the Methodist Protestant and Methodist Episcopal united and the church became the Imlay City Methodist Church. By the late 1940s Sunday school classes were being held in every nook and cranny, and four new classrooms were added.
The exterior of the church was covered with the present Perma-Stone in October of 1957 at a cost of $8,400. By the year 1964 the big cast iron bell in the tower was badly cracked and considered dangerous. It was removed in pieces.
In 1968, the Evangelical United Brethren and Methodist churches merged, and the name changed to the Imlay City United Methodist Church.
The church has weathered the many years virtually unscathed except when lightning struck the bell tower in 1973 with an estimated damage of $2,400. New pews and carpeting were installed in the sanctuary in 1975.
In 1982 the sanctuary was “turned around” and a two-level addition north from the existing building constructed. The project expanded the sanctuary seating by 55-60 and created a large foyer. The new addition contained a nursery, crib room, fellowship hall, seven Sunday school rooms, an access ramp, offices for pastor and secretary, four restrooms, and additional storage space.