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[photo] Current and historic views of Central United Methodist Church of Asheville
Photos courtesy of North Carolina Collection, Pack Memorial Public Library, Asheville, North Carolina and City Development, City of Asheville, North Carolina

Since the mid-19th century, Church Street has been home to a number of congregations that chose to locate south of Patton Avenue. The Central United Methodist Church met in a frame building beginning in 1837, but the current building was not erected until 1902. Designed by Richard H. Hunt of Tennessee and built by James Madison Westall, the imposing limestone church presents Romanesque Revival style massing and forms, but the detailing more closely reflects the Gothic Revival style. A five-bay loggia, set between two pinnacled towers, fronts the large, gable-roofed auditorium. A Sunday School building was added in 1968 in a complementary style.

Trinity Episcopal Church stands on the southeastern corner of Church and Aston streets. Nationally known architect Bertram Goodhue of the New York-based firm of Cram, Goodhue and Ferguson designed the building in 1912. The Tudor Gothic Revival style brick building with granite trim features a simple, gable-roofed sanctuary with transepts and a short corner tower. The interior opens to an attractive hammer beam ceiling and panel tracery fills the stained glass windows. A compatible parish house and hall were added later around the church.

[photo] First Presbyterian Church
Photo courtesy of City Development, City of Asheville, North Carolina

In 1884, the leaders of First Presbyterian Church commissioned a new building to serve the growing congregation and to provide space for the increasing number of tourists who visited Asheville each summer. The Gothic Revival style brick nave and tower feature deep-corbelled cornices, hood-molded windows and blind arcading at the eaves. Built at a cost of $8,000, the new church could accommodate 600 worshipers. As the congregation has continued to grow steadily, so has the church building been renovated and enlarged over the years.

The cross-plan Christian Church, whose tin-shingled roof is still visible from the street, is now enclosed within the walls of the Swannanoa Cleaners, located at 22 Church Street. The church building was converted to a laundry in 1891, and architect William Dodge designed the current façade, which was added c. 1940.

The Churches of Church Street are all within the Downtown Asheville Historic District. Central United Methodist Church is located at 27 Church St. and is open to the public Monday-Friday, 9:00am to 4:00pm. Worship services are Saturdays at 6:00pm, Sundays at 8:45am and 11:00am For more information call 828-253-3316 or visit www.centralumc.org (large groups please call in advance). First Presbyterian Church is located at 40 Church St. Worship services August through June are 8:45am in the Campbell Chapel and 10:55am in the Sanctuary and June to August 10:55am in the Sanctuary. For more information call 828-253-1431 or visit www.fpcasheville.org. Trinity Episcopal Church is located at 60 Church St. For more information call 828-253-9361 or visit www.trinityasheville.org.

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