LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA
CHURCHES AND MINISTERS
FIRST METHODIST CHURCH
(Photo courtesy of William Lindsey McDonald)
FINE CHURCH IS GUTTED BY RAGING FIRE
Smoke Blackened Walls All That Is Left of
First Methodist Church After Wednesday’s Fire.
WAS THE FINEST IN THE CITY
Flames Believed to Have Started From Furnace.
Insurance Carried To Amount of $21,000.
On Wednesday afternoon one of the most disastrous and spectacular conflagrations that ever occurred in Florence fell upon the city when the handsome First Methodist Church was completely gutted by the raging flames, only smoke blackened walls remaining where a few hours before had stood the finest house of worship in the city.
The alarm was turned in just after five o’clock, when large volumes of smoke were seen issuing from the north end of the building, but the fire had made such headway that the efforts of the fire department could not check its course.
An immense crowd of people thronged the streets adjacent to the church, and for two hours watched the onward advance of the flames, which had gotten completely beyond the efforts of the fire fighters. In a brief time after the first alarm the flames broke through the roof and for blocks around illuminated the murky and drizzling atmosphere. The fire was spectacular and the loss is great, embracing nearly all the furnishings of the church, which had only recently been renovated internally at an expense of nearly $2,000.
The insurance upon the church was $20,000, with $1,000 on the furniture, a total of $21,000.
The parsonage, near by, was in great danger from the current of the wind in that direction, but saturation with water held it secure, though the furniture was removed to the streets in view of the imminent danger.
The church was build in 1903-1904, during the ministry of Rev. S. E. Wasson. It was a handsome structure. the cost at the time was about $35,000, including the furnishings.
The trustees of the church met yesterday and took preliminary steps to rebuild at the earliest time possible.
Arrangements have been made whereby the regular Sunday services will be continued at the usual hours in the coffee High School building. [The Florence Times, Friday, January 23, 1920, p. 1.]
(Postcard from the collection of Ronald Pettus)
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