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Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville's history
(1998)

12. Religion,   pp. 208-226


Page 221

church had a membership of 150, drawn from former members of the First Methodist Episcopal
Church. (Cadman n.d.:8-9; Butterfield 1879:554)
By 1904, these two Methodist Episcopal congregations also had merged into one congregation,
the Central Methodist Episcopal Church. The older building at 122 S. Jackson St. was sold, and
the Court Street Methodist Episcopal Church building retained. The congregation purchased a
site at South Franklin and Court streets and dedicated the new church in March 1906. Because
William W. Cargill donated $10,000 for church construction in memory of his father and
mother, W. D. and E. Cargill, the new church, located at 70 S. Franklin St. (not extant), was
renamed the Cargill Memorial Methodist Church. The new church served the congregation for
almost 50 years. Reluctantly deciding to relocate, the congregation purchased a nine-acre
suburban site in 1957 and laid the cornerstone for the new building in November 1959. The new
building was completed in 1960 but not dedicated until 1977, when the mortgage was finally
paid. The Cargill Methodist Church at 2000 Wesley Ave., continues to serve the congregation
today. (Cadman n.d.:12-13; "Cargill Church Building To Be Dedicated Sunday")
Only two of the four historic resources related to Methodist Episcopal congregations in
Janesville are still extant. The original Methodist Episcopal church building at 317 McKinley
St. has been remodeled into a residence, although much of its historic appearance remains
intact. Because this was the first church building for the Methodists and may be the oldest
church building in Janesville, it is potentially individually eligible for the National Register
of Historic Places and is listed as a contributing resource in the Old Fourth Ward Historic
District. The other historic resource related to the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Court
Street Methodist Episcopal Church building at 36 S. Main St., was listed individually in the
National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
For a brief period in the mid-nineteenth century, Janesville also had a Primitive Methodist
Church. Organized in 1849 primarily by British immigrants, the Primitive Methodist Church
built a small building in 1851 on South Franklin Street (location unknown, probably not extant).
The congregation disappeared from city directories in 1862, and the 1879 Rock County history
book indicated that the church had closed. (Butterfield 1979:558, City Directories)
The postWorld War II era was a period of Methodist expansion in Janesville. While these
churches have no historic congregations in the city, they are of twentieth-century historical
interest. They include Wesleyan Methodist Church, 767 Benton Ave.; Asbury United
Methodist Church, 1810 Kellogg Ave.; First Free Methodist Church, 1509 S. Grant St.; and
Emmanuel Free Methodist Church, 2618 Mt Zion Ave.. These congregations are not historically
significant, and their resources are not potentially individually eligible for the National
Register of Historic Places at this time. (City Directories)
Court Street Methodist Episcopal Church (1868-1870), 36 S. Main St. Photograph ca. 1900.
Religion
221


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