A deed dated January 17, 1833, conveyed one-quarter of an acre of land on the corner of East First Street and North Salisbury Street to the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church. An additional quarter of an acre adjoining the original property was deeded to the trustees four years later. This acreage formed the site of the first structure of the Methodist Episcopal Church in Lexington. The original house of worship was destroyed by fire in 1886. Today, St. Stephen’s United Methodist Church is located at the site of the first church.
Twelve years prior to the 1886 fire, the congregation had built a new structure on land located in the third block of South Main Street. The Methodist congregation worshipped in this sanctuary from 1874 until August of 1902, when fire struck again and destroyed the building.
On April 6, 1903, the cornerstone of a new church, by then First Methodist Episcopal Church South, was laid on the same site on South Main Street. In 1919, a lot adjoining the church property and facing South State Street was purchased. This property was originally used as a playground and years later converted to a parking lot. In 1924 and again in 1933, additional Sunday School rooms were added. On July 7, 1940, First Methodist Episcopal Church South and State Street Methodist Protestant Church merged, forming First Methodist Church. The building that housed State Street Methodist Protestant Church stood at the corner of South State Street and West Second Avenue until 2006.
The present edifice of modified Georgian colonial architecture is located in the fourth block of South Main Street. Construction began on January 6, 1954, and on May 15, 1955, the first service of worship was held in the new sanctuary. In 1968, The Methodist Church merged with The Evangelical United Brethren to form The United Methodist Church. Our congregation became First United Methodist Church.
Adjoining property has been purchased through the years for Scout activities, a youth center, and additional parking. A columbarium was dedicated in 1998. The dedication of the new elevator and renovated building was held September 19, 2004.