A Methodist house of worship has been on the corner of 4th Ave. SE and 2nd St. SE in Perham for 131 years. The congregation was officially organized in 1882 with the Rev. Fred Post presiding.
The trustees named were Charles H. Tuesley (attorney), Andrew McCrady (saw mill owner), George F. Russell, John Kennedy and Amanda E. Butler (teacher).
The original white frame building, erected in the fall of 1882, was 24×44’. It served the congregation for 91 years.
In those days, pastors often served several congregations, traveling by horse and buggy or train.
The Perham parish included Richville members for most of 1906 to 1985. Dent was part of the parish from 1915 to 1917, and also from 1939 to the present (1994).
The congregation has owned five different parsonages. The first parsonage was built next to the church in 1903. In 1939, an annex was added to the original 1882 building, with members providing the labor.
A 50th anniversary celebration was held in August of 1933. Three hundred people attended a picnic at Lake Marion, including a charter member of the church, Steve Butler.
In 1961, during the ministry of the Rev. Charles E. Pieh, the congregation and Sunday school grew too large for the building. A Christian education building was built in 1965, and a new sanctuary in 1973.
In 1968, on a national level, the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church joined to become the United Methodist Church.
In 1982, the United Methodist Church celebrated its 100th year. Bishop Emerson S. Colaw led 200 people in worship at a centennial celebration, which was held July 25 of that year.
From the 1994 “East Otter Tail History Book, Volume I.” Lina Belar is the founder and retired director of the Friends of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County.