A Brief History
The history of Methodism in Shepherdstown can be traced to 1778 when circuit rider, Rev. Edward Bailey supported the town in a circuit that stretched from the Potomac westward to beyond the Ohio River. Circuit Riders were critical to the growth of Methodism in America.
Currently located on the corner of Church and New Streets, New Street United Methodist Church has served the community of Shepherdstown, West Virginia, for well over 150 years. Built in 1854, the brick sanctuary replaced the original log church that was destroyed by fire earlier that year.
As a witness to the Civil War, the building most likely served as a hospital after the Battle of Antietam in 1862, for records show that most public buildings and homes in the town sheltered wounded Confederate soldiers after Robert E. Lee’s troops retreated back across the Potomac River into Virginia.
At the end of the war, the Methodist Episcopal Church in Shepherdstown separated, and New Street continued to serve the congregation of the northern faction, while the southern supporters constructed a new building on German Street (now the War Memorial Building). Reuniting in the 1940’s the congregations selected New Street as their home, and following extensive remodeling/construction, this building has continued to house the Methodist congregation and serve as an important part of the community in Shepherdstown.