Tracy & the Church 1910-1920

In 1910 an Annex was built onto the church for activity uses.  During this time, the church was also been added to and enlarged. The building was used for school purposes when Tracy outgrew the Old Willow School house on the highway and was also used during the flu epidemic of 1918 as an emergency ward.  Mrs. Elsie Salcido taught school there and some of the boys who fought the fire (see below) were in her classes.

In 1910, the Tracy Board of Trade (later the Tracy Chamber of Commerce) spearheaded a campaign to incorporate Tracy into a city. On July 10, 1910, Tracy Abe Grunauer, a partner of Fabian Grunauer Company and a leading mercantile and grain-trading farmer becomes Tracy’s first mayor. Next was the installation of water and sewer systems, the paving of streets, and the building of Tracy’s first City Hall…now the Central Fire Station at the corner of Central Avenue and Ninth Street. Tracy Grammar and High School opened in 1911. And Holly Sugar opened its doors in 1917. Also in 1917 Tracy High School was built near town (it wasn’t close at that time).

The Depression & the destruction of the First Church

The Tracy Inn was completed in 1927.

After serving as a church home for local Methodist for forty years, the old building was destroyed in an early morning fire on Sunday, November 3, 1929, (before Sunday school).  They couldn’t just turn a key to start the heat, the minister had to go over before breakfast and build fires in the stoves.  The common belief is that the stove door didn’t get shut properly and a spark(s) escaped and set the wood built church on fire. 

Rescued from that fire were a hutch now used to display historical memorabilia in the narthex of the church at its location at 1610 East St and the pews.

Meetings were held in the Labor temple on Central Avenue for more than a year while the labor went on of tearing down the church building to salvage the lumber.  Hymn books were dried and wiped page-by-page and the pews scrubbed and repainted – one or two still survive in the Sunday school room (need to check). Because this was the depression, they salvaged everything they could from the old church before embarking on a new church. 

In 1931, a fund-raising campaign to finance a new church was opened with Mrs. C. W. Peterson as chairman of the drive committee.  J. W. Stocking served as chairman of the building committee with Mrs. C. E. Peterson as General Chairperson, the rest of the committee members were Mrs. T. E. Byrnes, Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Rudkin, Mrs. F. L. Jackson, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Fine, Dr. J. Frank Doughty, Mr. Alva Bacher, Mr. and Mrs. R. A. Baumgartner, Mr. A. L. Swarthout, Dr. Carl Bent, Rev. E. L. Fisher. A successful campaign was climaxed on December 31, 1931, by the laying of the cornerstone for a new sanctuary at the southwest corner of Parker and Eaton Avenues.  Dr. Tully C. Knoles of College of the Pacific was the speaker at this ceremony.

On April 3, 1932, the new $10,000 church was dedicated, featured by the induction of 34 new members into the membership of the congregation.  Dr. C. B. Sylvester of San Jose was the principle speaker and Dr. Carl Bent officiated. At the end of the ceremony, over 200 guests were served at a potluck dinner.

Giant Orange opened in Tracy in 1934.

On May 10, 1939, the Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and the Methodist Protestant Church united to form the Methodist Church.  Therefore the name of the church in Tracy became The First Methodist Church of Tracy.

The Golden Jubilee the Methodist Episcopal Church was celebrated May 4, 1941, marking 50 years of Christian work in Tracy.  The most honored guest was Ellen Parker, the only living charter member of the church organization. She, at that time, was living in Stockton.  (She passed away February 4, 1951, at the age of 91, having given of her love, strength and substance to this church and its work.  Her children are happy in the knowledge that her memory is being kept green by her beloved church.)

Church member ??? sending a letters to Tracy folks in World War II.  She made sure everyone got a letter and sent them on to everyone in a round robin fashion so they could keep up with each other also as well as Tracy.

Clarice Stark saw an interesting situation – every 20 years our church plant has had to be doubled.

Church History by C. F. S.

First church built





20 years

Annex added – doubling size





20 years

Church burned



New church





20 years

Now 20 years later have outgrown this building.  We grow with the community



The Present Church

The present sanctuary of the First United Methodist Church was used for the first time on Sunday, September 1, 1957, and Rev. Mee and Wallace Englund, building committee chair, led a procession from the old church to the new sanctuary at 1610 East Street.

The educational building was constructed in 1960 and in March 1961 was dedicated as the Grace Fine Center.  The attractive landscaping was done in the spring of 1963 and 1964.  The entire church plant is valued at $208,000.  The present membership is 508.

While Rev. Glenn S. Fuller was pastor, a new parsonage was built at 345 East Carlton Way.  A loyal friend to church members, he had a strong world missionary view and was truly a part of an international family. Controversial speakers presented a balanced view of issues under his leadership.

In 1968 the Methodist Church united with the Evangelical United Brethren Church and became the United Methodist Church.  Therefore the church in Tracy became known as the First United Methodist Church of Tracy.