First United Methodist Church
The church first met in January 1872 in the Bryant House, a storehouse at First Avenue and 21st Street North. From their early days, the church fought poor sanitary conditions and disease, clothed and fed the poor, and was a catalyst for the City Board of Missions. The church has worshiped at four different locations.
In 1891, First United Methodist built the sanctuary it uses to the current day. The church, now on the National Register of Historic Places, was a design in American Romanesque Revival architecture. It was designed by George Kramer of Weary and Kramer, an Akron, Ohio architect known for his church designs, and built of Ohio brownstone. The Gilreath-Decker Construction Company was the builder, and the cost exceeded $160,000.
The current entry lobby was originally an Akron plan Sunday School with an assembly room and two levels of classrooms. The church added an administration building in 1921, an office and chapel building in 1950, and an education building in 1964. The sanctuary underwent a renovation in 1973.
- Century of Worship: 1872-1972 (1972) Birmingham: First United Methodist Church/Oxmoor Press
- Schorrenberg, John M. and Janice Ford-Freeman, "Enduring Grace-Birmingham's Historic Downtown Churches," in Walking Tours of Birmingham Churches Conducted from 1990 to 1999, Birmingham Historical Society - accessible in Sterne Library, UAB.