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BACKGROUND INFORMATION

First United Methodist Church is an extravagant example of the Late Gothic Revival style. Typically constructed of stone, structures of this type were especially popular as churches or college buildings, such as Princeton University in New Jersey, Yale University in Connecticut, and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

James Buchanan Duke, whose money created Duke University, played a role in establishing First United Methodist Church in Charlotte. In the early 1920's, Duke met with Charlotte Methodist E. R. Bucher, an employee of what is now Duke Power Company, and said, "You know, I'm going to spend a great deal of time in Charlotte. I think I ought to do something for Charlotte Methodism." Later Duke promised to contribute $100,000 if Trinity Methodist Church and Tryon Street Methodist Church, both in Uptown Charlotte, would merge and "build a representative stone church." On November 24, 1926, Trinity Methodist Church and Tryon Street Methodist Church did vote to unite. The first service was held here on October 30, 1927. Although J. B. Duke had died in 1925, his estate did contribute money to the building of First United Methodist Church. The architect of the Charlotte church was Edwin Brewer Phillips of Memphis, Tennessee.

THINGS TO LOOK FOR

  • Having trouble identifying brick patterns, shingle patterns, or other parts? See the Illustrated Guidebook for help!
  • Notice that this Gothic Revival church has no steeple!
  • Like other Gothic buildings, the First United Methodist Church emphasizes the vertical. It has many of the same elements as the First Prebyterian Church, but the First United Methodist Church can be described as a "heavier" building.

    ACTIVITIES

    At the site...

  • Sketch a section of the ashlar stone masonry on the church. Label it.
  • Sketch a bell tower. Notice the tracery and the symmetry in the design.

    On your own...

  • Compare First United Methodist Church with other Gothic Revival churches you have seen on the tour. Look for these characteristics as points of comparison: building material, spires (are there any and, if so, where are they placed?), towers (are there any and, if so, where are they placed?), windows (size, shape, location, type of tracery), stone or brick patterns (identify each pattern). Compare this church with these: St. Peter's Episcopal, First Presbyterian, First United Presbyterian, and Grace AME Zion Church. You'll notice that there is quite a variety of buildings under the Gothic Revival umbrella!
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