History: Walnut Street

    The Walnut Street United Methodist Church ‘WSUMC’ is located on Walnut Street in Franklin, West Virginia. WSUMC, together with the Franklin Main Street United Methodist Church and the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, form the Mountaintop Ministries Charge. This Charge received its name in September 2003, under the pastorate of Rev. David Fisher, when the name was changed from the Franklin Main Street – Walnut Street – Mt. Zion Charge. The Franklin Main Street-Walnut Street-Mt. Zion Charge was established in June 2001, under the pastorate guidance of Thomas and Stephanie Malcolm.

    The name for the WSUMC was chosen by the congregations of the Evangelical United Methodist Church and the Harper Chapel United Methodist Church when they merged on January 1, 1998, under the pastorate of Rev. John Barnes. These two churches formed the Evangelical United Methodist – Harper Chapel Charge.

    Harper Chapel UM Church was located east of US Rt. 220, thirteen miles south of Franklin. The congregation first worshipped in the “Judy Church” and then used the Harper School House. As membership grew, they built the churches on a lot donated by Andrew Harper in union with the Brethren Church during the pastorate of J. W. Brill in 1903 by J. E. Mullenax . The church was located at the intersection of Rt. 220 and Snowy Mountain Road, and was a one room structure with no basement. It was first owned and used by two denominations; the United Brethren and the Dunkard Brethren. They also owned jointly a church on Sandy Ridge. In 1953, they traded shares and Harper Chapel merged with the EUB congregation and Sandy Ridge went to the Brethren congregation. Dr. Floyd Fulk was the EUB superintendent at this time.

    In 1959, this church was dismantled and another church of block and white stucco was constructed and later bricked. The church was built during the pastorate of S. J. Westfall. After the merger, Harper Chapel Church was sold to Hope Holiness Church in 2003. Presently the building is no longer being used as a church.

    For approximately thirty years the Walnut Street congregation first worshiped in a church that was built at Smith Creek in 1898. As the membership grew, the need for more space became necessary. In 1928, a brick church located on the present lot was purchased from the county court. This structure was built around 1873 by the Presbyterians. They had moved to a larger church which they had built across the street. This church was also used by the county government as a modified court house following the town fire in 1924.

    The congregation saw the need for more adequate facilities and started a building fund under the guidance of Rev. Lee E Sheaffer. However, it was during the stewardship of Rev. B. F. Spitzer that the lot upon which the current church is erected was obtained from Bert Sites, President of Sites Chevrolet, Inc. In the last two years of the pastorate of Rev. Don Fridinger, plans for a church design were chosen. A building committee was named which consisted of the following: Rev. Don Fridinger, McClure Sponaugle, Willard Ganoe, Scott McCoy and Roy Lambert. March 28, 1954, ground was broken for the new structure and on May 30th the cornerstone was laid. The Franklin Evangelical United Methodist Church was dedicated May 1, 1955.

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