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Architecture and History Inventory
421 S FARWELL ST | Property Record | Wisconsin Historical Society
Historic Name:First Methodist Episcopal Church
Other Name:Unitarian Universalist Church
Reference Number:41209
Location (Address):421 S FARWELL ST
County:Eau Claire
City:Eau Claire
Unincorporated Community:
Quarter Section:
Quarter/Quarter Section:
Year Built:1911
Survey Date:1997
Historic Use:church
Architectural Style:Neogothic Revival
Structural System:Masonry
Wall Material:Stone - Unspecified
Architect:William L. Alban and James E. Fisher
Other Buildings On Site:0
Demolished Date:
National/State Register Listing Name: First Methodist Episcopal Church
National Register Listing Date:2/18/1999
State Register Listing Date:7/26/1998
National Register Multiple Property Name:
Additional Information:The former First Methodist Episcopal Church, like many churches constructed in the early twentieth century, reflects a Gothic influence. The dressed stone structure (rock faced stone is used on the lower portion of the building) is cruciform in plan with gable roofs covering the nave and transept. A corner entrance tower dominates the composition which also features pointed and flat arch openings and buttresses.

The first gathering of Methodists in Eau Claire occurred in 1857. In 1868 a frame church located in the 600 block of S. Barstow Street was dedicated. In the intervening years a second Methodist congregation, the present Lake Street Methodist Church, 337 Lake Street, 34/18, was organized on the city's west side.

2016- "Designed by the firm of Alban and Fisher from St. Paul, Minnesota, this building is one of five Neo-Gothic Revival buildings constructed in Eau Claire between 1911 and 1920. The church was originally built for the First Methodist Episcopal Church which occupied the building until 1930 when the congregation combined with the Lake Street Methodist Church located on the city's west side. Immanuel Lutheran Church then utilized the building until 1980 at which time they built a new church. The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship then purchased the building and has since held services in the church.

The Neo-Gothic Revival style influences of the building include the Gothic arch transoms above the windows, the steeply pitched roofs and buttresses, pinnacles and battlements. The original Kimball and Company pipe organ, which was manufactured in Chicago at a cost of $3,000, is still in the church."
-"Eau Claire Landmarks: Designated Historic Properties in Eau Claire, Wisconsin", Eau Claire Landmarks Commission, P.O. Box 5148, 2016.

In 1909 the frame church structure was destroyed by fire and replaced by this fine stone structure on the corner of S. Farwell and Gray Streets. A conference held in 1930 joined the two congregations and in the following year the First Methodist Church building was sold to the Immanuel Lutheran Church (A).

The Immanuel Lutheran congregation was organized in 1883 as the Swedish Lutheran Immanuel Congregation, a name in use until 1927. Formed by a group of Swedish-born citizens of Eau Claire who were interested in services performed in their own language, the congregation erected a frame church at N. Oxford Avenue and Beach Street in 1887. A parsonage and school house followed in 1891. In 1931 the congregation moved to this location (B). They used the building until 1980 when they built a new church and sold this building to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

All stained glass windows have been removed except those in the gothic doorways. The original Kimball and Co. pipe organ, manufactured in Chicago at a cost of $3,000, is still in the church.
Bibliographic References:(A) 80 Years of Methodism in Eau Claire, pamphlet available at Chippewa Valley Museum. (B) Fiftieth Anniversary of the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 1883-1933, pamphlet available at Chippewa Valley Museum. (C) Another map code for this building is EC 1P/29 and its corresponding Survey map name is Plat Map #8. Eau Claire Landmarks booklet published by the Eau Claire Landmarks Commission in 2002.
Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin

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