The first United Methodist church on Wayne Street was founded in 1871 under the name Wayne Street Methodist Episcopal Church. The first Methodist church in Fort Wayne was built in 1840 under the name, Berry Street Chapel. This chapel’s congregation grew so large that in 1849, all members living west of Harrison Street had to form a new congregation. This congregation decided to make it’s home in the chapel of the Fort Wayne Female College and in 1850 built a church of its own. This church proved too small and another, bigger church was erected in 1871, this being the Wayne Street Methodist Episcopal Church.
Like many churches and religious groups, this was a community. Members cared about each other and liked to be involved in their lives. As a result of this, members of the congregation felt the need to commemorate their fellowship with the time capsule shown here. It was buried at the cornerstone of the church when it was built. It was dug up after only 8 years due to the church moving to yet another location, now the current First United Methodist Church on Wayne Street. The contents of this particular time capsule had documents of Fort Wayne including newspapers, directories, Christian pamphlets and a Bible.
Mixed in with all the newspapers, pamphlets and directories was a copy of Our Methodist Paper. This specific local church newspaper features a picture of the Wayne Street Methodist Episcopal Church in 1896. Also found were newspapers showing prices and job listings. Here is a picture of a job listing. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t be too keen on a $30 a week salary!
This time capsule will be on exhibit as a part of the Fort Wayne Bicentennial, 200 @ 200. It will be unveiled June 1st.