Since 1848, the organization and expansion of First United Methodist Church in Gainesville parallels that of Gainesville itself. The first arrivals in Cooke County were largely of Methodist faith, so it seemed only natural that the first congregation formed would be Methodist. Early settlers requested the establishment of a Methodist church at a conference held at Basin Springs on May 22, 1852. This was the first time the church appeared in official records. The first church building, granted by the Commissioners Court on May 21, 1855, was used for worship, schooling, and as the Masonic Hall. For 24 years, the first floor was shared with the Cumberlands and Christians. On weekdays, the building was used as a school. The Masons used it at other times.
The current sanctuary site was given by Judge J. M. Lindsay, a prosperous early settler. In 1892, a resolution was passed to construct the current sanctuary for a total cost of $10,000. John Garrett served as designer and builder, who also built many structures around Historic South Gainesville. The stained glass windows arrived in 1893, as did the organ, which is still in operation today.
FUMC Gainesville has taken on four major capital improvement projects since 2002. The education building was constructed in 1965 and renovated in 2006. In 2002 a new Fellowship Center, with needed classroom space, was constructed on the property. The education building was also updated. The “Second Time Around” thrift shop is housed across the street from the church and has been in ministry since 1976. The Learning Tree preschool has been in operation since 1981, and is housed at First Church. Additional properties have been purchased for the continued expansion of the church’s mission and ministry. An extensive renovation to the sanctuary began in 2009. The sanctuary exterior project, where the brick and stonework were removed and replaced, uncovered other issues with the structure. In 2012, an interior sanctuary project replaced the elaborate wooden pews and carpet, restored the hardwood floors, and renovated the beautiful stained glass windows, among other various updates. We preserved our past and made way for our future.