First United Methodist Church of Oak Park was the first established congregation to settle in the Oak Park area. Established in 1870, the congregation first worshiped in a small one room school house. Under the name of the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Oak Park, a church was erected on Lake Street, near Forest Avenue, which opened for worship in 1874. The church grew and flourished and, anticipating the need for expansion, purchased the land for our present site in the early 1920’s. Plans for the new church building were being developed when the old church was destroyed by fire in 1923. Built between 1923 and 1925, our current church building was dedicated in March, 1925. Our history is rich with a tradition of providing meaningful Christian ministry to our congregation, our community, and those in need. We carry forward the spirit of the past, as well as strive to meet the spiritual needs of today’s people.
Our historic church building was designed by Tallmadge and Watson in the modern English Gothic Revival style. Built with Bedford limestone, the building features a Memorial Tower and Memorial Chapel. Designated an Oak Park Historic Landmark in 2005, the design and the blueprints of the church are preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago. Recent renovations have been made to maintain and enhance the building’s original features.
The stained-glass windows, designed by Giannini and Hilgart, were installed in the sanctuary as memorial gifts between 1957 and 1966. The windows depict Jesus’ life and ministry, his apostles, and Old Testament prophets.