Special Collections Department
Manuscript Collection Number: 425
Accessioned: Purchased July 24, 1998
Extent: .33 linear ft.
Content: Church newsletters, weekly programs, church directories, correspondence,
annual reports, budgets, Church service programs, and lists of church members,
officials, and Sunday school students.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 2001 by Laura Cochrane and Theresa Hessey
Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
Table of Contents
The Harrison Street Methodist Church had its beginnings as a Sunday school at the home of Wilmington resident Howard L. George. Named the Franklin Street Methodist Sunday school, it held opening exercises on October 5, 1890. The first regular session was held on October 12, 1890, with Mr. George presiding as superintendent and with fifty-six students attending.
The popularity of the school led to discussion of the possibility of founding a church. The community consulted Rev. Louis E. Barrett, the Pastor of nearby St. Paul’s Methodist Church, to assist them in this undertaking. After discussing various names, they settled on Harrison Street Methodist.
The Harrison Street Methodist Church was officially organized and incorporated under Delaware law on March 25, 1891. The original congregation numbered twenty-five. On April 21, 1891, these members purchased a lot on which to erect their church on the corner of Harrison and Seventh Streets. On May 21, 1891, a temporary frame chapel was erected and dedicated. The following Sunday, the school met for the first time in their new location. In the fall of 1891, the church was plastered, prepared for winter, and became the first church in the city of Wilmington to have electric lights.
Over the course of many years, membership to this church community continued to grow. It became apparent that a larger, more permanent church building was needed. Construction of the new church on the original lot began on July 17, 1893. After 1907, additional rooms were added to the building to accommodate the Church’s numerous programs, which included various levels of Sunday school teaching, adult Bible classes, a preschool, and an infant care program.
The pastors who served Harrison Street Methodist included Dr. F.B. Short (1892-1896), Rev. R.T. Coursey (1897-1899), Dr. C.T. Wyatt (1905-1910), Rev. W.T. Habbart (1919-1924), Rev. E. M. Shockley (before 1941-1943), Rev. C.M. Harris (1944-1948), and Rev. Milton H. Keene (1949?-1951 or later).
The church closed in 1978.
Folder -- Contents
1 F1 Directory of the Harrison Street Methodist Episcopal Church, 1935 Paper bound book, includes names of officers, committee members, and the names, addresses and phone numbers of Church members F2 Lists of members, n.d. Typed lists of the names, addresses, and phone numbers, of Church members. F3 List of Officers, 1941 Hand written list of officers’ names and addresses F4 List of Sunday school class members, 1940 Typed list of the names and addresses of class attendees F5 Two letters, 1937 and 1944 The 1937 letter requests donations from members and friends of the church. Rev. Carlton M. Harris sent out the 1944 letter as the Church’s new pastor. F6 Report of the General Superintendent of Harrison Street Methodist Church School to the Fourth Quarterly Conference, 1941 F7 Annual Reports of the Treasurer of Harrison Street Methodist Episcopal Church, 1935/36-1947/48 and 1953/54 F8 Handwritten and typed budgets for1945/46 and 1954/55 F9 Church newsletters, 1950-1952 F10 Newspaper articles, n.d. Two articles announcing the reinstatement of Rev. Carlton M. Harris to the Harrison Street Methodist Episcopal Church. One of the articles quotes Rev. Harris, but seems to be facetious. F11 Weekly programs, 1941-1943 F12 Weekly programs, 1944-1945 F13 Weekly programs, 1946-1948 F14 Weekly programs, 1949-1951 F15 Weekly programs, 1952-1954 F16 Notes for Rally Day, 1942 and 1943 Handwritten notes of remarks delivered on two Rally Days F17 Palm Sunday concert programs F18 Christmas service and concert programs, 1944 and n.d. F19 50th Anniversary celebration, 1940 F20 Children’s programs, 1940, 1953, and n.d. Programs for Children’s Day services, Promotion Day, and a Tom Thumb Wedding.