Methodist Temple has evolved from a place of worship established in Evansville in the year 1843. It was in that year a group of German Methodists held their first meetings in a public inn. Explanatory notes accompanying records of that group advise that the inn-keeper was converted and became one of the fifteen charter members. In 1844, the first real church for this group was built on Vine Street, the site the same as the old fire station building across the alley from the Courier and Press building.
This German Methodist congregation grew in number and influence and purchased a lot at the corner of Fourth and Vine Streets in 1865. A church and parsonage were built on this lot at a cost of $37,624.00. It was known as the Fourth Street M. E. Church and furnished religious inspiration for the congregation until the comparatively recent year 1937. At that time, County officials advised the Official Board and Trustees that the County wanted to buy the buildings to make them an annex to the County Courthouse. Since the location had become an almost entirely business area, and since membership and influence had been declining somewhat, it was the decision of the church authorities to sell, at a price of $46,000.00. Final services for the Fourth Street M. E. Church were conducted on Palm Sunday, March 21, 1937.
A merger agreement had been reached between the membership of the Fourth Street M. E. Church and the Bayard Park Methodist Church at the time the decision was made to give up the Fourth Street location.
The Bayard Park Methodist Church had been organized by leaders of Trinity Methodist in 1906. Ground was broken for the church building at Blackford and Evans Avenues on September 16, 1908, with the cornerstone laying ceremony in October of that year. The Bayard Park Methodist Church was dedicated on February 21, 1909.
The purpose of the merger of these two churches in 1937 was to build a new church on a site further east in the city than the Bayard Park Church occupied at the time. The years of World War II delayed the plans as expressed at the time of the merger, until ground was broken for our present Methodist Temple on January 13, 1949. The cornerstone of our Methodist Temple was laid on Sunday afternoon, March 20, 1949. The first service in our present Sanctuary was held on Sunday morning, July 2, 1950, with 800 people present.
Land for the site of our present church was purchased in 1941 at a cost of $10,000.00 and was most recently appraised at a value of $60,000.00. Total cost of the building as originally finished and equipped was $304,000.00. The contract for the construction of the new Educational building in 1955 was made at $251,000.00.