The First 100 Years
Nestled in the hills along the Holston river close to the old Netherland Inn was the site where a small Methodist Society was started in the early 1800’s. This Boatyard Church and cemetery grew and flourished until the Civil War brought about a division in the congregation between those sympathetic with the North and those favoring the South.
The two congregations continued to worship in the same building until they moved downtown in the early 1900’s. We hear stories even today of new congregations meeting in schools and movie theaters. Our story is no different as one congregation met in the old Gaity Theater and then the Odd Fellows Hall while the other congregation met in a school building where the First Presbyterian Church now stands.
Eventually, after much sacrifice and stepping out in faith, each church began its own building program. Broad Street Methodist (South) was the first church building erected in modern Kingsport. It was on the site where the education building now stands. Woodyard Center is the site of the former First Methodist Church (North). It was named after the Rev. Woodyard who was also a talented brick mason. He and a helper laid every brick in that building. Our two churches existed side by side until they merged in 1969 to become First Broad Street United Methodist Church.