Cornerstone box discovered during the demolition of Dresden’s historic First United Methodist Church… | News

Union City, Tennessee, Jan. 13, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

For immediate release

Union City, Tenn.—Leaders of the Church of Dresden First United Methodist Church in Dresden, Tenn., work with artifact experts from Discovery Park of America, a museum and heritage park near Union City, Tenn. ., to open and retain the contents of a copper capstone box which was discovered during the demolition of the church building.

The building was damaged beyond repair in December 2021, during one of the worst tornado outbreaks on record in the United States. The cornerstone box was found bricked inside a portion of the church that was dedicated in 1923 and previously unknown to many church members today. Once discovered, the demolition stopped when those present began to work to carefully extract the box from the cornerstone of the building.

Wayne McCreight, a church administrator, contacted Discovery Park asking for help in safely extracting the contents of the box.

Jennifer Wildes, the museum’s senior director of collections and exhibitions, will manage the opening of the box in the coming weeks and be ready to hold what, if anything, remains inside after being hidden away for nearly 100 years. Photos of all found items will be posted on the Discovery Park Facebook page and loaned by the church for display at Discovery Park for a short time.

A news clipping from the Dresden Enterprise, the city newspaper, noted that when the church was originally dedicated, a crowd gathered on a Saturday afternoon to witness the laying of the cornerstone. According to the clipping, the box placed there at the time contained a complete list of church members, a complete history of the church, copies of the church newspaper, copies of the Company of Dresden and copies of hymns.

“If we find damp and fragile artifacts, it will take delicate care to preserve them intact before they can be carefully examined and cataloged,” Wildes said. “Whatever we find, we will ensure that these items left behind by past church members are preserved as a reminder of the church’s important history.”

Dresden, the county seat of Weakley County, Tennessee, was organized in 1825 and incorporated in 1827. When the town was laid out and lots were made available for purchase, land was designated for a place of worship. This land was purchased on February 4, 1833, and is where the church was located in various buildings until the tornadoes of 2021.

Church leaders are planning where and when their new church building will be built. Contributions to the Dresden First United Methodist Church Rebuilding Effort can be made online at by searching “Dresden FUMC Rebuilding Effort,” or checks can be mailed to:

Construction and renovation fund

First United Methodist Church of Dresden

411 Morrow St.

Dresden, TN 38225


About Discovery Park of America

The mission of Discovery Park of America, a world-class museum and 50-acre heritage park located in Union City, Tennessee, is to inspire children and adults to see beyond. Included is a 100,000 square foot museum featuring 9 interactive exhibit galleries with additional space for changing exhibits from around the world and a 50-acre heritage park. Discovery Park of America is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including its primary funder, the Robert E. and Jenny D. Kirkland Foundation. For more information, visit, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Photo credit: Brody Kemp

Clare Saum Discovery Park of America 731-335-4242 [email protected]

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