In 1965, the recently merged Trinity-Woodmore Methodist Church needed more room for its 600 members.
This photo, dated December 1965 and taken from the archives of the Chattanooga News-Free Press, shows a new sanctuary being built on the North Moore Road property. The finished building was occupied in the first half of 1966.
"We were new members when the Moore Road building was built," said Clint Cooper, a former religion editor and current opinion writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "I remember sliding under the just-installed pews, from pew to pew, on the slick new floor with the preacher's youngest son.
"The sanctuary, when completed, had beautiful blond wood paneling, pews, chancel rails and a cross design above the choir loft," Cooper said. "My recollection is that the original carpeting and pew cushions were a sort of turquoise. It had a center aisle, a narthex and a balcony. The approach from North Moore Road was up wide, long stairs leading to thrust double doors and single doors on either side."
The photo is part of a gallery of Chattanooga Free Press images showcased at ChattanoogaHistory.com, a website curated by local history buff Sam Hall.
In a report in early 1966, the News-Free Press noted that the sanctuary was part of a $250,000 construction project at the church that also included new classroom facilities.
The two former Methodist churches, Trinity and Woodmore, had merged in 1964 and were meeting at a smaller existing chapel before this building was completed.
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, ChattanoogaHistory.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available.If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives, or original non-digital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
According to published reports, Trinity Methodist Church dated to 1899 when two smaller congregations merged into a new church building "on the southwest corner of McCallie Avenue and Park Avenue in the thickly settled residential area." By 1964 there were 344 members on the church's rolls.
Woodmore Methodist was established in 1956 with an influx of members from the Alton Park Methodist Church who lived in the Woodmore area, according to a newspaper report. After meeting initially at Woodmore Elementary School, the group moved into new frame buildings on the Moore Road property. By 1964, Woodmore Methodist had 270 members.
At the time this photo was made, Trinity-Woodmore Methodist was under the leadership of the Rev. Gordon Sterchi.
Trinity-Woodmore Methodist merged with Christ UMC in the mid-1990s. The building shown here was occupied after that by New Covenant Fellowship. Later, in the 2000s, New Covenant moved to a nearby building, and this structure was bought by Phillips Temple Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.
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