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Edenton Street Methodist Church and Poindexter Memorial Educational Building, Raleigh, N.C.

Edenton St ME_1941_web

As a part of our occasional postcard series on Raleigh’s downtown churches, Flashback Friday this week visits our city’s oldest established house of worship — Edenton Street United Methodist Church.

Edenton St ME_1941_back_web

This week’s card was postmarked on August 5, 1941.

This historic church had its beginning in 1807 [sic]. Its origin can be traced to the days of Rev. Jesse Lee and Bishop Francis Asbury, and was known as Asbury meeting House. Edenton Street Church may be justly proud of one of the most modernly equipped plants in the South, with a membership of nearly 3,800.

An editorial note on the narrative on this week’s card — Edenton Street Methodist was established in 1811, not 1807 as stated.

Got here O.K. and everything is all so nice. & my roommate is too. Mrs. Bolick from Taylorsville N.C. Will be back Friday. Had rain this p.m. Did you? ‘Bye, M.B.

The message is curious, as there is not a whole lot of information given by M.B. to follow her train of thought.

Maybe she was in town for a meeting, or some sort of training session for two or three days; touching base with her mother back in Raeford, she had a ‘Mrs Bolick’ for a ‘roommate,’ and would be ‘back home’ by Friday. Also, rain seems to have been a big issue with many of our Flashback Friday correspondents of this era — go figure.

Edenton Street Methodist Church — A Raleigh Landmark Since 1811

Edenton Street United Methodist Church was organized in 1811 under the auspices of Bishop Francis Asbury. The congregation soon erected a frame meeting house at the corner of Edenton and Dawson Sts., the site it has occupied ever since.

Our postcard this week shows the third church building. Construction began in 1881 and was completed in 1887. At the time, at 183 feet, the central tower of Edenton Street Methodist Church was “the tallest spire in Raleigh.”

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

This etching depicting Edenton Street Methodist Church accompanied an article in the News and Observer in May 1887 announcing the dedication of the congregation’s third church building.

Three years ago we published an article  on Edenton Street Methodist during its 200th anniversary. That postcard depicted the 1887 building.

Edenton St ME_1908_web

This 1908 postcard view shows Edenton Street Methodist Church and its parsonage, which once stood next door.

As the congregation continued to grow over the decades of the 19th century, a brick Sunday school facility was erected adjacent to the church in 1912. It replaced an earlier frame building.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

This photo shows the Edenton Street Methodist Church Sunday school building as it appeared in the late 1920s. The 1916 postcard below depicts the church/Sunday school complex.


Just 25 years after the 1912 Sunday school building had been erected, the congregation had grown to the extent that Edenton Street Methodist erected the larger and more substantial Poindexter Memorial Building on the same site in 1937. It housed Sunday school classes, staff offices, meeting rooms, a nursery, and a chapel. This facility still stands, and is depicted in this week’s card.

Continued Growth, Expansion, Disaster, and Regeneration

Edenton Street Methodist Church renovated and modernized its 1887 sanctuary with a significant expansion in 1951. Barely five years later disaster struck.

During a thunderstorm on the evening of July 28, 1956 a bolt of lightning struck the steeple. Despite the heroic efforts of the Raleigh Fire Department, the ensuing fire gutted the old church. However, the adjoining Poindexter Building was saved.

The photos below vividly reveal the extent of the fire.

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

Above, RFD firefighters turn their hoses on the engulfed steeple. Below, the entire church is ablaze. 

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

The fire drew a large crowd of spectators from the surrounding neighborhood.

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

The following day Raleigh’s historic Edenton Street Methodist Church lay in ruins.

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

Photo courtesy (Raleigh) News & Observer

 Although their sanctuary had been destroyed, the congregation continued to meet in the Poindexter Building next door.

State Archives of North Carolina photo

State Archives of North Carolina photo

Reconstruction began immediately, and the cornerstone of a new Edenton Street Methodist was laid in 1957. The new church was dedicated the next year.

Edenton St ME_cornerstone_web

Since then, Edenton Street Methodist continues to welcome new members, and the congregation expanded their campus in 2002 with the addition of the Curtis Fellowship Center.

Edenton Street United Methodist Church

A lightning rod now tops the cross on the towering steeple of Edenton Street United Methodist Church.


Our Flashback Friday white border, ‘linen’ postcard this week was published by long-time Raleigh stationer James E. Thiem Sr., and was printed by the Curt Teich Co. of Chicago under the trade name ‘C.T. Art-Colortone.’

Curt Teich Co. 1893-1974 Chicago, IL A major publisher and printer. Their U.S. factories turned out more cards in quantity than any other printer. They published a wide range of national view-cards of America and Canada. Many consider them one of the finest producers of White Border Cards. The Linen Type postcard came about through their innovations as they pioneered the use of offset lithography. They were purchased by Regensteiner Publishers in 1974 which continued to print cards at the Chicago plant until 1978. Curt Teich logo

Curt Teich logo

“Flashback Friday” is a weekly feature of Goodnight, Raleigh! in which we showcase vintage postcards depicting our historic capital city. We hope you enjoy this week end treat!

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