MILESTONES....traveling down a 127 year long rocky road
Warrenville Methodist, organized with 17 members in 1854 after having been under the charge of Naperville since 1840, finally 'raised' their own home in June 1858. The basement was put to use as the town's public school, opening with a class of 27 in autumn of 1859. James Prindle, 19 years old, was the principal and teacher.
"As a church is was moderately successful for about 30 years...The loss of its Sunday School superintendent, Jude Gary, whom death claimed in 1881, was keenly felt. After a decade of fighting a losing battle with poor attendance and poorer collections, in 1901 the Methodists 'gave up the ghost' and Warrenville had a deserted church building on its hands.
"Ten young men known as the 'Live Wires' bought the property nine years later and proceeded to liven things up...The belfry and steeple, now out of character, were taken down"
After selling his Hubbard Woods studio in 1924, 62-year-old artist Adam Emory Albright took up residence in Warrenville and acquired the old church. His twin sons, Ivan and Malvin, built small studios in the church yard.
"As The Albright Gallery of Painting and Sculpture for the next three decades, the former church was a renowned art center in the Chicago area." *
* Schmidt, Leone, In and Around Historic Warrenville, 1982
The building was the home of the DuPage Art League in the 50s and 60s, The Albright Theatre Company in the 70s and in 1984, after extensive renovations it opened as the Warrenville Historical Museum in one of the rooms. In 2002 the Historical Society was given full use of the building by the City of Warrenville and today it is known as the Warrenville Historical Museum and Art Gallery featuring seven display areas, a Research Library and a Museum Store. Visit the Museum's newest display The Journey from Methodist Church to Museum and learn the full story of this historic landmark.