In the summer of 1844 a Methodist minister arrived on horseback in the area now know as Columbus. Circuit riders clergy, were clergy assigned to travel around specific geographic territories to minister to settlers and organize congregations, he offered to hold services in the home of a local settler, and the Methodist movement moved into the area.
Area Methodist church services started to be held for all locals in 1846, located in a wagon shop on the corner of Ludington and Harrison Street, and in 1847 a new founding church was formed, as they grew in Congregational size they quickly outgrew the wagon shop and expansion was needed several times over a ten year span to host the increasing needs of the churches. Land was purchased and churches were built and by 1855 Methodist churches were organized in Columbus among both English and German speaking families, in Fountain Prairie (later Fall River), and Elba.
In 1852, the first Methodist services in German were held in Columbus, six years after the first services in English. Like its English speaking counterpart, the German Methodist Church grew and became strong. The German Methodists built a church and outgrew it twice before building a magnificent church on Ludington Street, not far from where the local Amtrak train station is today. In the 1860’s, there were four charges in the Columbus circuit: Columbus, Elba, Fountain Prairie (later Fall River), and Windsor. In the small country church that was built in 1869, the Elba Methodists worshiped for 75 years. In 1944, they united with the other two congregations, to form a three-in-one community of faith. In 1873 the dedicated of the newly construction of the church was a great undertaking. Topped with a steeple and bell tower that was said to have been 160 feet high, being the tallest structure in town, sadly in 1900 the steeple was destroyed after being struck by lightning, causing a fire which engulfed the structure, the steeple bell fell to the ground and was completely shattered.
In 1937 two Columbus Methodist churches merged to become a new congregation, the old church located on Ludington Street was sold the following year to the local Masonic Lodge.
Today, the United Methodist Church has retained the ability to be a free thinking, progressive branch of the