Germantown Historic Church
Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital and Methodist Healthcare Foundation have begun the restoration of one of Germantown’s oldest structures and assets. The historic church is located at the corner of Germantown Road and North Street, and for so long has been known as the Old Baptist Chapel.
The present church was built in 1870 at a cost of $800, replacing the original structure constructed here on a plot of land provided by Wilks Brooks in 1841. The original church met the same fiery fate of many structures throughout the South during the early years of the Civil War. This property was purchased by Methodist as part of their Pavilion expansion from the Baptist Seminary, and before that Germantown Baptist Church.
Methodist’s goal is to restore the church and its interior to its original period condition in 1870. At the same time, the restoration must be “green or sustainable” so that this historical asset lasts for another 150 years. Much discussion focused on windows.
Restoration is a two-phase project. The first phase centers on the exterior as well as the parking area to be shared with the hospital. This phase includes tearing off the existing brick structure on the back of the building and replacing it with a smaller structure that will house restroom facilities for the church with new plumbing and electricity. The building could be used after the completion of Phase 1, but the event planner might not find decorations to match the studs and rough flooring. Phase 1 will provide protection for the interior, prior to Phase 2, when the interior furnishings will be restored and placed to be functional.
William Kenley, Sr. Vice-President of Methodist Healthcare and CEO of Methodist Lebonheur Germantown, states that “the church is of great importance in the community. As such, it is one of the places that carries the soul of Germantown. Methodist has partnered with interested parties and contributors in preparation of the plans for this restoration, and Methodist will be funding the project. Getting started now will help keep the momentum going with hope to follow quickly with Phase 2.”
Charles Salvaggio is the General Contractor and takes a particular interest in working on historical structures. This church has always stood with the Presbyterian Church as bookends of the Old Germantown (OG) District, and now there is the assurance it will remain this way.
Kenley states that “we don’t want the church to be just something beautiful to look at, but something usable. We’re looking for a balance. While we are not in the business of restoring buildings, we do recognize and are honored by our position as a member of this community. Methodist is excited to be part of this project, and there will be a lot of things that this property can be used as part of this community.”
Germantown Historic Church