MHT File Photo
Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church
26679, Cooper Road (MD 309), Allen, Wicomico County
Asbury United Methodist Church is a rectangular, gable-front frame structure sheathed in weatherboards and resting on a brick foundation. It stands three bays wide and three deep, with the entrance located in a square bell tower centered on the north gable end. The main block of the building was constructed in 1848, replacing an earlier structure. The prominent entrance tower was added in 1883, and features a steeply pitched pyramidal roof with a slight kick at the eaves. Extending from the back of the building is a multi-sided chancel flanked by small shed-roofed sections. A modern single-story church community hall is attached to the back of the building. The north elevation is a symmetrical facade with the centrally positioned entrance and bell tower flanked by large 12/12 sash windows flanked by split louvered shutters. The upper half of the long shutters are normally closed while the bottom pair are left open. The lintel of these front windows is accentuated with a molded cornice. The double-leaf front door opening that pierces the tower is framed by a wide door surround trimmed with a bracketed cornice. The sides of the entrance and bell tower are marked by 4/4 sash windows with louvered shutters. The second floor of the tower is defined by a single 4/4 sash window, also with louvered shutters. The sides of the middle level are blind walls. The third level of the tower is marked by a shed roof, similar to a pent eave, underpinned by a series of brackets that encircle the tower. The belfry is defined by pointed-arch louvered openings on each side. The tower is capped by a pyramidal roof spire which has a tapered wooden finial at its peak and flared eaves at its base. The roof covering is a layer of patterned wood shingles. The sides of the church are marked by three large 12/12 sash windows framed by narrow beaded edge surrounds, and flanked by divided or split louvered shutters. As on the front of the building, the top half are closed while the bottom shutters are open. The rear wall of the church is largely covered by a semi-octagonal apse pierced by long frosted glass single-pane sash windows. Small rooms added to each side of the apse are covered with a shed roof. Rising against the northwest side of the rear wall is a single flue stove chimney. The church interior combines a mixture of mid- to late-19th century and early- to mid-20th century finishes, including vertical beaded board wainscoting, a turned baluster staircase with turned newel posts and molded handrail in the northeast corner, board pews with scrolled ends, and paneled doors. The building retains a high degree of integrity, with the majority of its early exterior fabric and interior furnishings intact. It is situated within a cemetery which provides its historic setting.
Asbury United Methodist Church is significant for its association with the rapid development of the Methodists denomination on the Eastern Shore of Maryland during the first half of the 19th century. It derives additional significance as a well-preserved representative example of the type of church building that was erected to serve Methodist congregations in the region in the period. The period of significance, 1848-1883, encompasses the period during which the church substantially achieved its present form and appearance.