In the year 1892, when these pictures were taken to illustrate a handsome brochure, issued for advertising purposes by the Wayne Estate, four religious denominations had churches in Wayne. The Baptists had had a meeting house on the corner of Conestoga and West Wayne avenues since 1841; the Presbyterians had completed their original chapel in 1870; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church was finished in 1889, while the Wayne Methodist Church was dedicated in June, 1891.
By 1890 one of these congregations, the First Baptist, had erected a second building, on the site of the first small structure and, by 1892, the Wayne Presbyterians had completed their first church edifice, to the west of the chapel.
In the five years between 1887 and 1892, Wayne’s population had been multiplied more than eight times, from an approximate 300 to about 2,500. Larger church buildings were required to meet the religious needs of a fast growing community.
Now, more than 60 years later, three of these churches still look much as they did in 1892. The fourth one, the First Baptist, was torn down two years ago, and has its successor in the Central Baptist Church.
It is interesting to observe that two of these churches have recently met the demands of still fast growing congregations by the purchase of properties adjoining the churches. The Wayne Presbyterian is rapidly turning the former Wayne Hotel into a Church House, while the Wayne Methodist has recently purchased the former Herbert L. Badger property for the same purpose. Meanwhile the Central Baptist is making plans for further expansion.
Although structurally the same in 1954 as in 1892, the Wayne Methodist Church has a different appearance now, owing to the growth of trees, foliage and vines. The former Badger home, which is soon to be turned into a church house, shows just to the left in this picture. The lot to the right of the church, which was empty in 1892, is now occupied by the parsonage, which was erected in 1909.
In the right foreground of the picture are the two stone posts at the entrance to the R.P. Elmer house. The attractive bit of rustic fencing evidently marked the course of a rapidly flowing underground stream.
The Wayne Estate brochure describes the church as “beautifully situated at the corner of Audubon and Runnymede avenues… the dates of the principal events of its history may serve as illustrating the growth of Wayne itself… the corner stone was laid in September, 1890, and the edifice was dedicated June 28, 1891. On the first anniversary of the dedication, the new and beautiful pipe organ was dedicated.
Like the Methodist Church, the Wayne Presbyterian Church had a rather stark appearance in 1892. The original church structure also seems much smaller since the Sunday School addition, on the rear at the eastern side, was not made until some years later.
The caption for this picture in the Wayne Estate Brochure stresses the desirability of the central location of the church which “makes it easy to access from all points of the village.”