This Methodist church in Dayton is one of oldest churches in Marengo County. The first Methodist-Episcopal Church in Dayton was built in 1819 of logs donated by Benjamin Glover. The next church was constructed prior to 1830. The current church was completed in 1851. All of the bricks and lumber used in the church were manufactured in Dayton. The pews and blinds are made of native walnut. The chandelier in the auditorium came from France. The pews had a partition down the middle as was an old antebellum custom for ladies to sit on one side and men on the other side. Slaves worshipped in the basement with a white preacher sent especially for them.
The church originally had an impressive steeple with a bell. During the early 1900s, the steeple began to lean thus causing it to have to be removed. The bell was placed beside the church. Other changes in this church include removing the “amen corner” on the right side of the auditorium for the construction of a platform for the organ and choir. The basement now serves as a study and a place for meetings and socials.
In 1936, the United Methodist Church was photographed and recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS). This church is located beside Highway 25 at Dayton, AL (32.349511,-87.641797 – Google Maps).
Sources: 1991-1992 Directory United Methodist Churches (The Thomaston Charge, Marengo County, Alabama); 2) The Alabama Catalog, A Guide to the Early Architecture of the State, by Robert Gamble.
B&W photographs courtesy of the U. S. Library of Congress (HABS), photographer: Alex Bush, date: December 12, 1936.