East Side History Madison’s Blog

By and for the East Side History Club, a project of the Goodman Community Center

Thanks for “A History of the Bashford Methodist Church”

Posted by eastsidehistorymadison on January 12, 2011

Doris Wilcox Phillips donated a copy of the 1953 edition of A History of the Bashford Methodist Church to the East Side History Club after hearing that we were doing a program on “The Other East Side”.

Here is an excerpt on the founding of the church:

A number of sites were visited in 1919 as the Madison Methodist Union sought land for the East End mission. After much searching the committee settled on two lots at the intersection of N. 7th St and E. Washington Ave.

They were somewhat hesitant about the site because it was so far out, almost at the very limits of the city, but they decided to buy since there were indications that both an elementary school (Emerson) and a high school (East) would be built in the vicinity before long, and these would attract more residents to the neighborhood.

On Oct. 30, 1919 the deal was closed and the title to the two lots was transferred from Emma, Louisa and Edward Girstenbrei to the Madison Methodist Union.

A tent was erected for services for a few months, but before long plans were made for a frame building 30 feet wide and 60 feet long. It was literally a “tar-paper shack” for it was unfinished on the inside with a cinder-covered dirt floor and both the roof and the exterior walls were covered with tar-paper.

In 1923 the building was remodeled.  It was set up on posts so that it was above sidewalk grade and wouldn’t flood. The exterior was stuccoed, the interior walls were plasterboarded and a wooden floor was installed. The carpenters’ union re-roofed the building as a token of their interest in the venture.

The old tabernacle being remodeled, 1923

The East Washington Ave frontage was leased by the church for business purposes. Rollie Burroughs put up a corrugated sheet metal building and established an auto repair shop there.  Later he installed gasoine pumps and that was the beginning of the service station (Edward Spoerl’s Gas Station in 1956).

Mr. Burroughs’ station was not open on Sundays and the building was frequently pressed into service for Sunday School use.

Just east of the station, Ray Jenkins operated a tailor shop in a similar building (Fred Stelter Hardware Store in 1956). The rental from these properties helped to defray the operational costs of the church.

The Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption now occupies the building on 7th Street and Bashford United Methodist Church moved to North Street in 1956.

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