Our History and Facility
The Methodist Church came to west-central Illinois with the pioneers. The Atlas Circuit was organized in 1826, and an early history of Adams County states that "in the year 1828, Rev. Jabez Porter, a Methodist minister, delivered a sermon in the town of Quincy." He opened a school and held services in a log cabin on the southeast corner of Maine and Fifth streets. In 1831, Meetings were held in the log Court House on Fifth Street just north of Maine, and this location continued until 1836 when Richard M. Young deeded to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Quincy a lot near the middle of the block on the south side of Vermont between Fifth and Sixth streets. On this lot was erected a brick church, fifty feet square, whose peculiar appearance won for it the name, "The Old Fort." In 1855, the nave Vermont Street Methodist Episcopal Church was chosen.
On October 2, 1865, the present site on the southeast corner of Vermont and Eighth streets was purchased. A temporary building was moved to the corner until 1875 when plans were made to construct a magnificent new building. In 1888 the new building was finally completed at a cost off $60,500 The church held 1,200 people with the pews arranged in a semi-circle and the floor sloping to the altar, an innovation in the late 19th century. The building was heated by a Haxton steam heating system and lighted by a London Sun Burner with two large chandeliers holding 125 gas jets each, and equipped for conversion to electricity.
The building, as it stands today, was built in two stages. The Sanctuary section, built in 1951, was designed by Hugo C. Haeuser of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Educational Building to the east was built in 1959 and was designed by the St. Louis firm of Froses, Maack and Becker. The entire structure was built of hand-cut Lannon Stone over a steel framework.
The Sanctuary represents one of the most significant and richly appointed halls in Quincy. Its extreme length is 105 feet, the width is 45 feet, and the peak of the timbered vault is 48 feet above the floor. All of the woodwork is natural finished combed-grain-oak. The carving of angels at the entrance to the chancel and the elaborate reredos behind the altar were executed in Chicago. The stained- glass windows were designed by the Chicago firm of Giannini and Hilgart. These windows are made of thousands of pieces of Flemish, German, and English glass, stained and baked in this country. The outstanding masterpiece is the large window over the altar which is centered with three scenes from the life of Christ and flanked with figures of four women who were close to Christ. The lower windows on the west wall represent the sacraments, baptism, and communion. The side windows on the lower level represent the life of Christ from Annunciation to the Holy Spirit. The clerestory windows on the south are the Beatitudes, and those on the north side, the Fruits of the Spirit. A large Rose Window is located high on the east wall.
The Organ represents one of the largest concert instruments in west-central Illinois. It was constructed in 1967 by the Wicks Organ company and contains 2599 pipes in 47 ranks. There are five divisions - four in the front, and the Antiphonal Organ Located beneath the window of the gallery. There is a three-manual console located in the choir. An unusual feature is the Fanfare Trumpet which projects in a horizontal position on the west wall.
The Chapel Contains windows which are based on the text of the Lord's Prayer. This room is designed in the same style as the Sanctuary.
In 1968, the methodist Episcopal Church merged with the Evangelical United Brethren Church, and we became the Vermont Street United Methodist Church.
The last quarter of the 20th century saw the acquisition of property across Eighth Street for additional parking. A much larger property acquisition occurred in 2004 when the church purchased the half-block parcel of land to the east of the church for $565,000. Formerly a lumber yard, part of the property was converted to a parking lot for the church in 2010.