Street Methodist Church was established in the year 1858 in Covington’s
west end. The first pastor of the congregation was the Reverend S.S.
Belville. The first church was constructed on Main Street on a lot purchased
in 1857. This frame building served the congregation for three decades.
In 1868, the Ladies Mite Society was established to raise funds to improve
the church building. That year, the sanctuary was carpeted, the pews
were painted, the pulpit refinished, and the exterior of the church
By 1882, membership had increased to 164. This growth resulted in the
establishment of a church building committee in 1883. In 1887, enough
funds had been raised to purchase a lot at the northeast corner of Main
and 8th Streets. Work on a new brick church began on April 10, 1888.
While the new building was under construction, the members of Main Street
Methodist met at Union Methodist Church on Greenup Street. The new Victorian
Gothic Revival church was dedicated on November 4, 1888 by the Reverend
C.M. Giffin D.D. The building was typical of Protestant churches of
the day. The first floor contained classrooms and meeting rooms. The
second floor housed the main worship space, complete with art glass
windows. The total cost of construction amounted to $17,500. Amos Shinkle,
a great benefactor of Methodism in Northern Kentucky, donated $7,500
toward this amount.
Main Street Methodist continued to flourish. In 1903, a major renovation
to the church building was undertaken. The work included the restoration
of the art glass windows, the installation of restrooms in the church
basement and the addition of frescoes in the auditorium. At about this
time, Jonathan D. Hearne donated an eight-room home on Willard Street
to the church for use as a parsonage.
The church auditorium was again updated in 1920. Two anonymous Covington
men agreed to decoratively paint the auditorium and Sunday school rooms.
The beautiful work was greatly admired by the parishioners and pastor.
In the years following the Second World War, Covington’s west
end began to experience significant changes. Many long time residents
began moving to the suburbs. At about the same time, many migrants from
Appalachia began arriving in Covington in search of employment. These
changes resulted in declining membership at Main Street Methodist.
In 1958, the congregation purchased a home on Kennedy Road in Fort Wright
for use as a parsonage. Like many of the parishioners, the pastor wished
to have a modern home in the suburbs. At about the same time, the trustees
discovered that the steeple of the church was in a weakened condition.
A decision was made to remove the steeple instead of repairing or replacing
it. Despite the age of the building and declining membership, the members
of the congregation chose to maintain the church in the west end.
On March 10, 1986, a severe storm swept through Northern Kentucky. Over
1000 homes and 224 businesses were damaged. Among these buildings was
Main Street Methodist Church. The majority of the damage at the church
occurred to the stained glass windows. The large five-foot rose window
on the façade had to be removed and completely rebuilt. The Kaleidoscope
Stained Glass Studios of Covington completed the work. The company also
replaced over 200 pieces of glass in the remaining windows.
The congregation of Main Street Methodist continued to decline throughout
the 1990s. The congregation currently shares a minister with Epworth
Methodist Church in nearby West Covington. In 2002, the congregation
discussed a merger with Epworth. Merger talks were discontinued when
the members of Main Street re-committed themselves to building up
the membership of their church. The Church, however, closed in 2004.
Kentucky Post, September 10, 1920, p. 1, September 10, 1986, p.
1k; Newton, James Marcus, A brief History of Main Street Methodist Episcopal
Church. (Cincinnati, OH: 1905); History of main Street Methodist Church