The Louisville Methodist Church moved to Louisville Road. When this change was made the name of the Church was changed to St. Mark’s. The bricks on the old Louisville Methodist Church were very meticulously dismantled brick by brick. They were then cleaned by the women and the pastor so they could be used to reconstruct a new sanctuary. The present sanctuary was constructed and the Rev. Dr. F. B. Shelton conducted the Consecration Service on April 1, 1943.
The need for a new parsonage was realized in the early sixties and the old parsonage was sold. A new brick parsonage was built in 1965. Mr. and Mrs.
Willard (Pearl) Walker donated the land. In March 2002 another new parsonage was purchased for $180,000, and the old parsonage sold for $103,500.
St. Mark’s broke ground for a new educational building on October 16, 1988. A Consecration Service was held on Sunday, September 17, 1989 with the District Superintendent Kenneth Henderlight and Bishop Clay Lee present. The new facility had new a new pastor’s office, nurseries, Sunday school classrooms, kitchen and a fellowship hall
In January 2000 St. Mark’s UMC saw the need for a new staff member. With the growing population of Louisville and the surrounding area, a Children/Youth Director was needed. The Church with a lot of faith and vision hired Sarah Thompson Herron as the first non-clergy employee of the Church.
In the Spring of 2006 ten acres adjoining the church property was purchased. With a total of 13.5 acres of land, plans are underway for future expansion of Church facilities. In the Fall of 2006 the Ministry Action Planning Team began work on a ministry plan for the church in order to determine the ministry needs of church and community members.
In 1836 the first deed was made for the erection of a Methodist Episcopal Church and a Seminary of Learning in the town of Louisville. Only five years before Nathaniel Cox has been apointed postmaster and a few years after the first settlers had come into this location. The first Church was a frame building, located near the river and where the old cemetery was.
In the early years Louisville was a busy and growing town. In the decade from 1835 to 1845, after steamboats started regular runs up and down the Tennessee River, Louisvile, Located favorable on one of the bends, was an important trade center. Merchandise was brought in from the south and the east and farm produce was shipped out. The little settlement, strategically located, bacame the most important town in the county.
Considering Louisville’s rapid growth, the lillte frame Church soon proved inadequate. In the first place it had not been centraly located, and in the second place it was not representative of the spirit of the growing community. Surely God’s house should be a barometer of the spirit of a town, and a larger finer Church house was planned.
In 1846 Samuel Saffell, who loved the Church and who was then a member of the Board of Trustees of the Church at Middle Settlements, gave a tract of land centrally located in the little community. A deed for the property was made to Robert S. Cummings, James McMahon, Thomas S. Saffell, G. H. Chaffin, Hiram Heartsell, George S. Gilbert, and Horace Foster, and their successors in office, trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church, Louisville, Tennessee. Construction of the fine new Church was soon under way, and it is thought that the old frame house was moved and used some years after as a schoolhouse.
In 1853 the new house was completed. The brick in the great twenty-two inch walls was burnt locally by a man who traveled throught the country doing this particular kdind of work. The fine windows of translucent glass were made very large in keeping with the general plans of the building. A white tower and belfry rising above all the other building in the town added the finishing touch to the new Church. Soon after the War Between the States the fine solid wild-cherry pews were built and installed. There were two doors at the entrance of the Church. One door was for the men and the other was for the women. The men sat on one side of the Church and the women on the other side.
In 1852, just before the Church was completed and one year after Louisville had been incorporated, the trustees of the Church (T. M. Rooker, H. Foster, B. L. Warren, Asa Ambrester, J. P. Harden, A. Kennedy, and John McClain) bought from John Hood two lots and a house for $325.00. It was to be used by the preachers who may be in charge of the Maryville Circuit. The first preacher to live in this parsonage and minister to the new Church was Rev. William W. Neal.
In 1867 and in 1873 Louisville was inundated by the floodwaters of the river. In 1873, when the water rose to fifty feet, it is said that C. R. Love paddled a canoe into the Church and took out the archives that were kept in the pulpit. These two floods together with the building of the K. & A. Rail Road to Maryville caused a sharp decline in the population of the town. The loss of river trade to the new rail road transportation and the fear of another flood were serious issues, but Louisville was not abandoned.
To those who remained the fertile hills and valleys brought bumper crops, and the old brick Church with the white belfry stood as a challenge. In 1888, just fifteen years after the worst flod, plans were made for a new seven-room parsonage. By 1889, when Dr. I. P. Martin came to the Louisville Circuit, the roof had been put on, and before he left in 1890 it was completed. Louisville was the most important charge on the circuit, and the new parsonage was a witness to the indefatigable spirit of the people.
Almost from the beginning there had been two Churches in Louisville: One was the Methodist Church and the other was a Presbyterian Church. In 1896 the Presbyterian Church was bought by a number of M. E. Methodists. In 1917 the Methodist Episcopal Church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. In 1925 the Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, upon the recommendation of the trustees of the local Church, deed the land to the Louisville Citizens Cemetery Committee and the old Church site was used as a graveyard. It was after the fire that the old brick Church, which served faithfully through the years, became a real community Church.
With thethe fear of another great flood lingering in their minds a drastic change was needed for Louisville. This drastic change was the building of the Forth Loudon Dam by the Tennessee Valley Authority. After TVA’s systematic research, more than fifty percent of Louisville’s population would have to move to make room for the lake, including the Louisville Methodist Church. The last homecoming for the Louisville Church was held on September 6, 1942. In that Sunday’s bulletin was a history of the Church and all the pastors who had served it up until that time.