Beginning around 1884, religious services for Methodists in Tulare were first held in a schoolhouse in the south part of town. Many early ministers in the Dakota Conference were circuit riders. In 1895 Tulare and Hitchcock became a two point charge and shared a minister.
Tulare United Methodist Church
The present church was erected in July - August of 1903. The first records in the Dakota Conference minutes for Tulare include the statement: "Tulare has a new $2500 church ready for dedication". The following year the church reported 37 full members, debts $415, Sunday School enrollment 105, average attendance 75, pastor's salary $150, for the presiding elder $20, for the Bishop $5, conference claimants $5, and expense for the Sunday School $60. In 1915 the building was raised and a basement built under it. Property value at that time was $500, with a seating capacity of 125.
"The Parts of Our Heritage"
This church has been moved to
Prairie Retreat near Bryant South Dakota
At the time the church was built in 1903 there was a sizeable women's group called the "Ladies Aid". The group raised money to help in the expense of running the church. They did this by having church suppers, box socials,programs and selling their handwork at bazaars. Later they organized a "Missionary Society".
These women sent money and clothes to help the missionaries that were sent overseas from the Methodist Episcopal Church. Later the name was changed to the "Women's Society of Christian Service" which included both the Ladies Aid and the Missionary Society.
In 1930 Cottonwood Lake Church was included to make a three point charge. But in 1938 they disbanded and joined the Tulare Church. Crandon Settlement Church also closed and joined the Tulare church in 1962.
As the church membership grew, more room was needed. In 1951 an addition was built at a cost of about $10,000 with much of the labor donated by the members. Nine years later a balcony was built with memorial funds.
In 1965 the Methodist Church joined Salem United Church of Christ and St. John's United Church of Christ to form the Tri-Church Parish. This arrangement of sharing a minister worked well for many years. However the three have become one congregation, the Tulare United Church and will continue to serve the people of the Tulare area.