First United Methodist Church
105 Genesee Street, New Hartford, New York
Methodist meetings were held in New Hartford as early as 1826. They grew out of the needs of the people employed in the mills and continued irregularly in various places, in spite of local opposition. “In 1840, when they desired to build a church, they had to obtain the ground without letting it be known to them of whom they bought it, for whom and for what it was obtained.” (Page 4 of the History of the Methodist Episcopal Church, a booklet in the Society library.)
The church was incorporated in 1840. A deed to 3/4 acres and the house thereon at 19 Oxford Road in the Village was obtained from Andrew Williams in 1840 in trust for the First Methodist Episcopal Church of New Hartford. A church was built on this lot for $3,000, which also included the parsonage and lot, and the church was in use by June 9, 1842. A Sunday School program was also organized. The church struggled financially in its early days, but “shows how these men had to toil and continue to toil to pre-pare for us the goodly heritage we now enjoy.” (Same booklet.)
This church was soon outgrown, and in 1869 a new church was dedicated. Subscriptions were taken from New Hartford notables Morgan Butler, Frederick Kellogg and George D. Babcock, among others. A massive bell was acquired for its belfry which bore the inscription, “Salvation Is Free”, new furnaces in 1912 and an enlargement of the Sunday School rooms in 1912 and again in 1920. In 1920 a lot on Oxford Road was purchased for a new parsonage costing $2,500. The parsonage was erected in 1921, the kitchen and old Sunday School rooms were remodeled, and a new addition for Sunday School and recreational purposes was erected for $32,500.00. In 1905 a pipe organ was installed, and in 1918 an electric organ blower.
One thing that has distinctively characterized this church through-out all these years is the “spirit of harmony with which the pastors and people have worked together.” (Same booklet.) In 1999 the church was sold to The Players Theater of Utica and a new church built at 105 Genesee Street across from the New Hartford Shopping Center. Unfortunately, in 1999 the original, historic building burned to the ground.