Methodism has been a driving influence in Putnam County for over 200 years. Although the earliest days of organized church history in the town of Eatonton will probably forever remain a mystery, we do know that a small group of faithful servants of Christ were active in what was known as the Sabbath in 1820.
The community built its first church, old Union Church, in 1819. For the next 39 years, the building was shared by the Methodists, Baptists, Christian and Presbyterian congregations, as well as the Masons. The Methodist church began taking subscription pledges in 1855 to construct a building of their own. By the year 1857, a lot was purchased on North Madison Avenue for the establishment of the First United Methodist Church of Eatonton.
Later that year, with the appointment of a pastor and the construction of the original church, a beautiful Greek revival temple form building, the First United Methodist Church of Eatonton became a reality. The church was dedicated in March of 1858 and cost about $7,600. In the years following, electric lights and stained glass windows were added. Classrooms were assembled in the basement as the church and community continued to grow.
In the early 1950s, the parsonage, which houses each pastor that is appointed to the church, was built nearby on Madison Avenue. In 1952, the Taliaferro House was acquired. By the sixties the need for more classroom and fellowship space led to the building of the Bauman Annex.
In 1979, disaster struck when an arsonist burned the original sanctuary. Despite this unfortunate act, the congregation rallied. The sanctuary was rebuilt and reopened in 1981 on Easter Sunday. This is the Historic Sanctuary that you see off Madison Avenue today, sitting on the same lot as the original.
The church and county enjoyed substantial growth over the years. By the mid-nineties, it was apparent that more space was needed. Following the purchase of properties around the block between Madison Avenue, Magnolia Street, Jefferson Avenue, and Wayne Street, church leaders began planning for an additional building.