Ridgedale United Methodist Church (closed)

The history of Ridgedale United Methodist Church dates back to July 1888.
J. W. Willingham was authorized by the Quarterly Conference of Centenary
Methodist Church to begin a Sunday School in the Ridgedale area. They first
met in a small hall shared with the Swedenborgian congregation; it was
located on Montgomery Avenue above the Smith Brothers & Hart store. In a
few months these facilities were outgrown and they moved to the larger
Hochstetter Hall farther east on the Montgomery Avenue extension, paying
$4.00 a month for the use of the hall. In December of 1888 the church was
officially organized. With the help of Centenary Church, the present lot
was purchased from D. T. Dodds, on what is now Dodds Avenue at 16th, for

The first building was completed in June 1889. The present brick building
seating more than 500 people was built at a cost of $85,000 and opened
October 4, 1925. A fire on February 19, 1975, destroyed the church kitchen
and fellowship hall, as well as causing a lot of smoke damage to the
remaining building. The kitchen and fellowship hall were rebuilt, the
sanctuary stained-glass windows cleaned and the church refurnished for

At its peak, the church had 765 members in 1949. The congregation sold the
facility in 1993 to The Soul Saving Station and merged with St. James church
to become East Ridge United Methodist Church. Though the congregation has
moved on to other churches, it has left an outstanding legacy. Twenty-four
youth who grew up in the church went on to become ministers. Even for a
large church this would be a significant number. For a small-to-medium size
congregation, it is truly remarkable and goes to show what a vital ministry
the church provided during its 105 years.

The Wicks organ was installed in 1946 at a cost of $5,000 and was first used
for the Christmas Cantata that year. It is installed in a chamber literally
over the heads of the choir. The Chimes were installed in 1960. The organ
was revoiced by Barger & Nix in 1985. As of 2002, the organ was still in

Wicks Organ Co., Opus 2626, 1946, 2/6


8′ Open Diapason
8′ Melodia
8′ Dulciana
4′ Octave 12
4′ Flute 12
Unison Off


16′ Bourdon
8′ Stopped Flute 12
8′ Quintadena (synthetic)
8′ Salicional
4′ Flute d’Amour 12
2 2/3′ Nazard 7
2′ Piccolo 5
8′ Cornopean
8′ Oboe (synthetic)
Unison Off


16′ Bourdon 12
16′ Lieblich Gedeckt SW
8′ Bass Flute GT
8′ Flauto Dolce SW

The church history is courtesy of Mrs. Samie Nation. Information on the
organ comes from Barger & Nix and from former organist Gene Luke.