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302 West Market Street
Greensboro, NC, 27401
united states

(336) 275-4587

Website for West Market Street United Methodist Church. 

WMC History

Our History

Methodist circuit rider Peter Doub established the congregation in 1830.  A brick building was built on Elm Street in 1831, the first church built within the town limits.  In 1851, a new church building for West Market Street Methodist Church was completed just west of the present site of the church.  In 1893, ground was broken for the present sanctuary, which was completed in 1898.  It was designed on the Akron plan, popular in church architecture from 1890 to 1920.  The stained glass windows, purchased at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, IL in 1893, were donated as memorials.

In 1930 and again in 1952, additions were made to the church building to expand educational space.  In the 1990's, the congregation decided to renovate the sanctuary, church building and build the Early Childhood Center, completed in 1999.  Included in the renovation of the sanctuary was the construction of the Dobson-Rosales organ, a collaboration of Lynn Dobson of Lake City, IA and Manuel Rosales of Los Angeles, CA.

Our Timeline

  • 1820s Methodists living in Greensboro (established in 1808) held services at the Greensboro Male Academy on Sycamore Street.

  • 1830 Peter Doub (1795-1869) was assigned to the Guilford Circuit; he encouraged Greensboro Methodists to buy a lot and build a church.

  • 1830 Greensboro Methodists purchased a lot on the west side of the 300 block of South Elm Street, a cornerstone was laid on August 14, 1830, by the Greensboro Masonic Lodge.

  • 1831 A brick, two-story building, thirty feet wide and fifty feet long, was completed; the congregation had grown to sixty-four. This is the first church to be built in the town limits. 

  • 1832 A Methodist school for females was organized in a building across Elm Street from the church.

  • 1834 The Greensboro Methodist Episcopal Church became a separate church with Samuel Bryant as minister.

  • 1838 The first session of the newly-created North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held at the Greensboro church. The Conference granted a charter for Greensboro Female College, the first college for women in the State of North Carolina.

  • 1849 The Greensboro Methodist Episcopal Church, South decided to build a new sanctuary; a lot on the north side of the 400 block of West Market Street was purchased.

  • 1851 A new church, often referred to as "West Market Street Methodist," was completed. The congregation had grown to one hundred and ninety-two.

  • 1879 A Women's Foreign Missionary Society was formed at the Greensboro Church; it had fifty-seven charter members.

  • 1884 The church began a neighborhood church in South Greensboro; the new congregation chose the name Centenary.

  • 1888 A bronze bell was ordered from a Baltimore, Maryland, foundry; it is still in use.

  • 1892 The congregation decided to build a third church, and a lot on the north side of the 300 block of West Market Street was purchased. The groundbreaking ceremony for the present sanctuary was held on June 26th. Construction cost for the project was $52,000; the stained-glass windows were donated as memorials.

  • 1893 The church was completed; it was dedicated in 1901, when the debt was fully paid.

  • 1910 A Sunday School Building was erected behind the sanctuary.

  • 1930 As the congregation celebrated its centennial, it published a history and reported 1,922 members.

  • 1932 Park Place Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited with its parent congregation, West Market Street. It had separated in 1920.

  • 1939 October 19 - The Fiftieth Session of the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South met at the West Market Street Church for its final meeting. Delegates accepted the reunion plans adopted by the General Conference at Kansas City.

  • 1939 October 20 - Delegates reconvened as the First Session of the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church.

  • 1951 The church repurchased the property behind it and began constructing the Education Building.

  • 1953 The Education Building was dedicated; its cost was $500,000.

  • 1962 Construction of Leak Memorial Chapel and a Church Office Building began. The building was dedicated in 1963.

  • 1968 Our current name, West Market Street United Methodist Church, was adopted, following a merger of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church.

    Written by Gayle Fripp, West Market Street UMC History Committee


If you are interested in researching something in our historical archives, or donating items, our History Committee will be glad to help you. Contact Gayle Fripp or Emerson Spivey through our church office at 336.275.4587.