Wiley Memorial United Methodist Church
Worship services have been held on this site at Fifth and Lookout since the
days of the “little log schoolhouse” in 1838.
The brick Wiley Memorial United Methodist Church was padlocked by city officials in January 1978 when it was ruled that the building was too dangerous to use. However, longtime member John Dodds led a fund-raising drive to restore the historic church. This effort was successful, and the church received a sandblasting and new roofing. The restoration also revealed some of the handsome woodwork that had been hidden. Services were resumed at the church, and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The sanctuary, which has excellent acoustics, is noted for its beautiful stained-glass windows. The church is believed to be the first African-American congregation in East Tennessee, as referenced in the Holston Methodist Episcopal Journal of 1867. The present impressive building was built in 1887; at the time, the congregation was known as St. Mark’s Methodist Episcopal Church. The entire membership participated in the construction; the women cleaned the brick for the building while the men laid the bricks. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The organ is no longer used – the congregation is quite content with their Hammond. Some pipes sound, but the organ, for all practical purposes, is no longer playable. The origin of the organ is still in question.
Kilgen Company, 1887, 2/11
8′ Open Diapason
8′ Stop Diapason
8′ Violin Diapason
4′ Flute Harmonique
Great to Pedal
Swell to Pedal
Swell to Great