Carlson Memorial UMC is the oldest church in Hendry Counry, beginning as Methodist Church, South in 1892.  The congregants began meeting in a one-room palmetto thatched schoolhouse near the river, at the corner of what is now Fraser Avenue & Riverview Drive.  Our first pastor was Robert M. Evans, a circuit rider who was responsible for all Methodist work between Fort Myers and Lake Okeechobee.  The first building was a Sunday School constructed in 1893 and a steeple was added in 1913.  In 1895 a small church was built on the present LaBelle Middle School property, on land donated by Captain Francis Asbury Hendry, for whom the county is named.  Around 1910, the growing congregation began meeting at the schoolhouse next door and eventually traded properties with the school.  In 1915 the school and church moved across the street to the southeast corner of Main Street & Fort Thompson Avenue.  The school became the church and the first parsonage was added to the property.  In June 1925, the church bought property at our current location.  The new sanctuary was dedicated in 1927.   In the 50‘s and 60’s the church was remodeled.  In the late 70’s, the interior of the church was remodeled.  In 1990, the sanctuary which was deemed structurally unsound was razed.  The congregation welcomed the new building in November, 1992.  which also added a 
new fellowship hall and kitchen.  In 2017, the fellowship hall was 
remodeled and the children’s wing hallway, which had been outdoors, was closed in.
The Carlsons

The Carlsons on their wedding day December 20, 1931

The Rev. Swen Robert Emmanuel Carlson was appointed to our church in 1930.  In 1931 he married Miss Maud Magill.  In 1935 they moved to their new assignment in Islamorado on Matecumbe Key.  When the Labor Day hurricane of 1935 came, the Carlsons could have escaped but felt that their place was with their people who were staying to ride out the storm.  He helped board up buildings and secure things down as the storm came in.  Matecumbe was completely destroyed and the parsonage swept off its foundation.  The hurricane took the lives of both Rev. Carlson and his wife.  The church was renamed after the Carlsons in 1937.