Methodism in the Fort Wayne area was organized as a mission in 1828. The people were able to erect a frame building in 1840 which they named Berry Street Chapel. Rapid growth made it necessary to divide the congregation in 1849, and the parishioners west of Harrison Street were formed into what became known as the Wayne Street M.E. Church. (See the Heritage Map site “Wayne Street M.E. Church”)
Those remaining at Berry Street and Harrison continued to increase and, in 1858, started a new house of worship. However, slowed by wartime, this was not completed until 1864. By 1902, a yet larger church was erected at Wayne and Lafayette streets, with the cornerstone bearing the name of “First Methodist Episcopal Church.”
In 1968, this congregation reunited with its sister church, the Wayne Street body, and, logically, formed the “First Wayne Street United Methodist Church.” For a time, the Wayne Street church building was used by the reunited congregations while they planned and constructed a modernistic new building next door to the First Methodist Church. In 1973, the congregation moved into their new house of worship and continues to worship there.
Both of the old cornerstones were retrieved and can now be seen outside of the main entrance to the present church. Also, a marker beside the church summarizes its history.
First Wayne St. GPS: 41 04 43.10, -85 08 07.54