The United Methodist Church

Construction on the Methodist Church began in 1869 on a lot purchased by the Ladies Sewing Circle. After a fundraising campaign, the church was completed by the end of 1871, and the dedication services were held in January 1872. The clock and bell tower were installed in 1886 and the pipe organ was donated by Mary and Eva Bacon in memory of Marshall and Emma Bacon in 1905. Ten memorial windows were placed in the church in 1915 and dedicated at the same time. 

The earliest Methodist 'classes' in Bridgton were formed about 1826 by Rev. R.H. Stinchfield, who preached here on an irregular basis before moving on to Norway, Waterford, and Fryeburg. According to the surviving records of these early Methodists, the first permanent organization in Bridgton was a small class of worshippers started in 1834 by Rev. George D. Strout. Among the first members were Benjamin Dodge and Ebenezer Carsley and their wives. A formal organization was begun in 1842, but Bridgton did not receive a regular Methodist minister until 1852, when the Rev. Charles Andrews was installed and the first Methodist church was constructed on South High Street. By 1868 this church, not a very substantial building, had become "dilapidated and unfit to worship in," and a subscription was started to fund the construction of a new building. Construction of the present church was started in 1869, on a lot which the Ladies Sewing Circle had purchased from Richard Gage for $400.

The building was framed and covered and the vestry completed that year, and worship commenced through the winter, but it was not until 1871 that the full structure was finished and the steeple erected. In 1886 the clock and bell were installed, and the building was electrified in 1897. After this was added a pipe organ in 1904, a steel ceiling in 1908, and the current memorial stained glass windows in 1915 to honor various local families who had contributed to the building's construction or played important roles in the history of the church. The Methodist church remained in operation until 2019 when it was closed for want of membership, and in 2021 was acquired by the Bridgton Historical Society. We are excited to be able to preserve and share the storied history of this important community building, even as we now embark on the next chapter in its rich history.