The early church always had a close relationship with Saluda and in 1906 the Rev. W.A. Newell began riding down the Saluda grade on the Helper engine to lead Tryon services. By now there were Sunday School classes and for a while four other churches (Presbyterian, Catholics, Congregationalists, and Episcopal) shared the building of joint Sunday School meetings. Mrs Nora Butler wrote of her special memories of these times, "In 1896 I came with my parents to Tryon and remember later attending the Union Sunday School of all the churches. I remember one of the earliest Methodist preachers , the Rev. W.H. Perry, a circuit rider from Mill Spring, who was here from 1901-1906.
Around this time the Methodists built their own church, a white frame buliding on Howard Street across from the old school they had been using. Enthusiasm was high and the church began to grow until the end of the second decade when it fell on hard times. Interest waned and the old bulding was in disrepair. At last its doors were closed.
Time brings changes and as new families began to arrive there was renewed interest in the old white church. The building was repaired and Sunday School rooms were added. For a time, the Presbyterians shared the building on alternate Sundays when the Methodist minister was preaching in Saluda.
By 1940, the church had bought a parsonage on Doubleday Road. The Methodist minister George M. Schreyer, was planning to move in with his wife who was busy making curtains and brightening up things. Schreyer was called immediately into military service and World War II had arrived.
By 1952 the old church building was proving inadequate and the conference sent the Rev. Harold A. Pruyn to build a new church. Five church members had gone to Charlotte to talk to the Bishop. Many thought the church was not ready for such a big operation but plans went through and land was purchased on New Market Road. The new structure was erected at a cost of $ 140,000 and completed in 1955
In 1958 under the leadership of the Rev. Marion Workman, a new organ was purchased. Later, land for parking and a site for a new parsonage on Grady Ave. was also acquired. With the selling of the old parsonage on Doubleday Road and in 1963 a bequest from the estate of Miss Lucy Stewart, the church indebtedness was wiped clean. The new parsonage was dediacted April 12, 1964 with Bishop Nolan Harmon taking part in the ceremony, assisted by the Rev. Frank Cook and M.M. Workman.
During the 70's and 80's the church continued to serve the community and made improvements from time to time. These included the purchase of a new piano, establishment of a library, and in 1983 a beautiful Memorial Garden was constructed aside the Sanctuary. Later, the church parlor, sometimes known as the "bride's room" was refurbished with new furnishings, curtains and a meeting table.
1997 marked the Centennial of Tryon United Methodist Church. Host minister, the Rev. J. Keith Franklin, greeted honored guests including former ministers and their wives, Elijah Cockman and Don Davis. For the second time, a Bishop presided, this time a lady. The Rev. Dr. Charlene Payne Kammerer. She was assisted by District Superintendent, the Rev. Dr. Lewis C. Gibbs.
In 1998 under the guidance of Pastor Franklin, the Long Range Planning Committee developed a master plan for the church facility which included the acquisition of an adjacent property on Bickford Street. An architect was hired and developed a multi-phase plan for improvements to the Sanctuary and Educational facilities. In summer 2001, the project was approved by the membership and construction began immediately.
The $ 800,000 "New Vision" project was completed in the spring of 2002 and the building was dediacted on April 14, 2002 in a service conducted by District Superintdent Karen Miller and Pastor Keith Franklin. The 6000 square foot addition included an elevator to improve access to all levels of the church, several new and modern restrooms, a choir practice room, and a library-meeting room. Administrative offices were relocated and a cheery nursery room was added adjacent to the Sanctuary and utility services were upgraded.
In recent years, we have been served by Pastor Keith Franklin, Pastor Brian Allen, Pastor Neil Haynes, Pastor Philip Hurst. In all thirty-nine ministers have served the Tryon United Methodist Church and many dedicated laypersons have donated hours of time, energy, and financial support.
Pastor Lynnette J. Sills is now serving the Tryon United Methodist Church since 2018.
The leadership of all these dedicated individuals with their vision, their dreams, and their desire to serve, is part of the heritage of the Tryon United Methodist Church. We are grateful for them all.
Much of this commentary was compiled by Ms. Martha Graves (dec.) and has been updated periodically by other church members as needed to keep this story current.