C. Postwar Maturity

Growth, then stagnation

Membership yo-yo. Dumbarton’s membership expanded rapidly in the late 19th century as the Methodist Episcopal Church surpassed other Protestant denominations in size.  Dumbartonians joined in the camp meeting trend of out-of-town retreats to promote the religion. But Dumbarton’s growth stalled near the turn of the century as Georgetown’s industries moved to other parts of the metropolitan area and took church members with them.

World turmoil. Along with the rest of the country, Dumbarton lost lives from the 1917-18 flu epidemic and World Wars I and II and also felt the impact of the Great Depression. The church helped those in need with financial and moral support. Dumbarton was also active in discouraging alcohol consumption, particularly during Prohibition. Later, as auto travel grew, many Dumbarton members moved to the suburbs and joined churches there. By 1940, the church had only 65 cents in its bank account. Membership was dwindling and the church was dying.