This congregation was established at the end of the Civil War for freedmen of the Austin area. It was begun through the efforts of the Rev. Joseph Welch, a white Methodist missionary, and the Rev. Isaac Wright, a black minister of the Methodist Church, North. The original meetings were conducted in the basement of the Tenth Street Methodist Episcopal Church, South, which many of this congregation’s early members had attended as slaves.
The first building for the Wesley United Methodist Church (Wesley Chapel Church) was a stone sanctuary with a dirt floor built in 1867 at Ninth and Neches streets. A new edifice, known as “Old Wesley on the Hill”, was constructed in 1882. The Site served the congregation until 1929, when the church moved to new facilities here. One of the leading black churches in Texas, this congregation has actively participated in community projects, mission work and educational leadership. Church facilities have been used for classes of Samuel Huston College and for formal organization of the West Texas Methodist Conference. The church’s programs and dramatic growth continue to reflect the ideals and religious dedication of its founders.
Wesley United Methodist Church was granted a historical marker from the Texas Historical Commission in 1982, and in 1985 the National Register of Historic Places recognized Wesley as a National Historic Site.