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Fourth Street Methodist

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Fourth Street Methodist Church in Wheeling

Founded in 1785, Fourth Street United Methodist Chuch was the first church of any denomination to organize in Wheeling. Members worshiped in member's homes and in the early courthouse until 1818 when a lot on Fourth Street (now Chapline) was donated by Noah Zane, Ebenezer Zane's son. The one-room brick building built upon the lot became the first church building erected in Wheeling, accommodating a congregation of around 30 members.

Fourth Street Methodist ChurchBy 1832, the congregation had grown to include 273 members and work on a new, larger church began. This second building, dedicated in 1836, had a large auditorium with side and end galleries, and with a 2000-seat capacity, it became a rallying place not only for Methodism but a gathering place for secular movements as well. One of the most historic events of these secular events was the appearance of the noted singer, Jennie Lind in 1851. The famous showman P. T. Barnum was paid $5,000 for this one recital. Seats were sold at auction and Michael Imhoff, a tailor, made the first bid of $250.

Fourth (Chapline) Street MethodistIn 1866, it was discovered that the walls and the foundation of the church had settled and that it would be necessary to rebuild. Fourth Street's third church building, Norman in design and distinguished by the presence of the semi-circular arch, was dedicated on May 15, 1870. 

In 1949 serious damage this third church was incurred during the erection of business premises on the adjacent lot to the south and the building was declared unsafe. The Fidelity Building, which had been built just a few years prior in 1937, happened to be for sale at this time. The construction was deemed "not only afforded ample facilities for a modern church program but, was readily convertible to ecclesiastical usage." [1] Services and classes began being held in the new Fidelity Building home in the fall of 1950 and Fourth Street Church came into full legal possession of the building on January 1, 1951. The structure, located on the corner of 11th and Chapline Streets, was then renamed The Methodist Building. 

 photo by James Janos, 1999 photo by James Janos, 1999 

[1] "Fourth Street Methodist Church, Wheeling, W. Va. 175th Anniversary," 1960.

 Read a more in-depth history from the Church's 175th anniversary pamphlet


▶ Corner of 11th and Chapline Street 


Fourth Street Methodist

Newspaper Articles

 ▶ Dedication of Fourth St. Methodist Church, May 16, 1870   

Additional Resources

Library resources:
 ▶ Fourth Street Methodist Church, Wheeling, W. Va. : 175th anniversary, April 3, 1960, 1785-1960.
 ▶ Church records, Wheeling, West Virginia, 1818-1954, contributed by Wheeling Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, Mrs. Vivian Breaks Marsh, State Chairman of Genealogical Records; copied and compiled by Mrs. Nancy Brokaw Ebeling, Chapter Chairman Genealogical Records Committee, Wheeling, West Virginia, February 1955.

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