THE METHODIST & BAPTIST CHURCHES
Madison’s Baptists built this red brick church in 1858 to replace their original wood frame structure that was located on Academy Street. The bricks for the building were made by enslaved persons on the plantation of John Byne Walker, a wealthy church member and landowner. Every brick bears the imprint of the name “Walker.” The handsome memorial windows were added in 1906, and the Neoclassical portico with its Corinthian columns were added during this era as well.
Legend has it that Union soldiers passing through Madison housed their horses in the basement. The story, however, is likely not true given that the troops camped to the west of town the night before and to the east the night after, and then kept moving. If horses were kept there by Union forces at all it would have only been for a short rest. It is even possible that the legend stems from use of the building by Confederate forces when there were several hospitals in Madison.
Among prominent local ministers who have filled the pulpit was the Rev. David Butler. Rev. Butler served as state senator in 1866 and was a trustee of old Mercer College and later of the college now known as Brenau.
By the early 20th century, the congregation of the First Methodist (now the Episcopal Church at stop 23) had outgrown its Gothic building on Academy Street. A building campaign led to the 1914 construction of a fine new building unlike any of the more traditional churches in town. The Akron Plan featured a central auditorium surrounded by rooms for Sunday school and other functions. This elegant Madison example features a classical Greek cross design, with the sanctuary situated under a large dome and a smaller cupola-like dome on top of that. The church’s Main Street and Central Ave facades incorporate Roman Tuscan columns supporting ornamental pediments with broad entablatures. The interior is equally dramatic.