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39 West Avenue

To keep up with recent news about the fate of this landmark building, see our News page. For a slideshow featuring additional photographs including five photographs showing the progress of its construction in 1898, click here.

Methodism was first introduced to Norwalk in 1787. Reverend Jesse Lee arrived in 1789 and started the first Methodist society in Norwalk, which was also the first in New England. Thus, Norwalk's First United Methodist Church can trace its lineage to the birthplace of Methodism in New England. After utilizing several structures First United Methodist Church, Norwalk, CT pulpitthroughout the years, the current yellow brick and white marble building (a photograph of the exterior appears on our News page) was designed by the architect M. H. Hubbard of Utica, New York. The cornerstone was laid 11 June 1897, with construction completed the following year. The builder was Stephen M. Randall, who had offices at 1125 Broadway, at the corner of 25th Street in New York City and at 154 Manhattan Avenue in Brooklyn. The total cost of construction was $56,400.

Underneath the pulpit area is a copper tub, to be utilized for Baptism by full immersion. This is a practice used only by those of the Baptist faith—definitely not a traditional Methodist custom. It is unknown why it was installed but is definitely an unusual part of the sanctuary.

The Hill Memorial Window (seen above, on the left) was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, although some documents suggest a stained glass firm in First United Methodist Church, Norwalk, CT pewsBridgeport did some of the work. Regardless, Tiffany had a part in it, as he designed the face of Samuel using the face of Ebenezer Hill's son-in-law, Benjamin Mitchel Andrews as a model.

The large window facing West Avenue (left) bears the likeness of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. This is one of the few, if perhaps the only, stained glass window in this country completely dedicated to the founder of Methodism.

Thanks to Peter Deysenroth (great great grandson of Benjamin Mitchel Andrews) for contributing much of the historical information above. Photos courtesy of Tod Bryant.