Occoquan Methodist Episcopal Church and the Shanklin Home
The photograph above shows the first Occoquan Methodist Episcopal Church and the home of the Shanklin family. Although Methodist congregations held services in the Occoquan/Woodbridge area earlier in the 19th century, it was not until 1862 that trustees purchased land in the town of Occoquan from the Samuel Janney family for the construction of a church. After securing the land, more than two decades passed before the congregation was finally able, in 1884, to build and dedicate the Occoquan Methodist Episcopal Church on Commerce Street in Occoquan.
In 1916, a fire originating in the Alton Hotel on Mill Street swept through town, destroying a number of buildings, the church among them. For a decade the congregation was thus forced to meet elsewhere, including in the Odd Fellows Hall on Commerce Street, until a new church was eventually built on Mill Street in 1926. The congregation continued to worship in the new church until 1958, when it merged with the Woodbridge Methodist Episcopal Church to become St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, and moved to its current location on G Street in Woodbridge. The church on Mill Street became Occoquan’s Town Hall in 1963.
Although nothing remains of the original church, the adjacent Shanklin family home (on the right in the picture above) remains today as the Pink Bicycle Tea Room at 303 Commerce Street, and retains many of its earlier exterior features.