First United Methodist Church of Pigeon Forge was initially part of the Pigeon Forge circuit in the Knoxville District of Holston Conference. Circuit riding preachers served this church, Huskey's Grove, Pleasant Hill, Walden's Creek and Wear's Valley. Worshipers of varying denominations first gathered on alternating Sundays in the morning and at "early candle lighting" in the meeting house which was a log building used for school and worship nearby.
It is believed that a member of the William H. Trotter family donated land for the "Methodist Episcopal Church" which was organized in 1880. A white frame church was constructed around this same time, and by 1916, a parsonage had been built. After a church fire in 1919, reconstruction began immediately.
In 1867, John B. Emert deeded one-fourth of an acre for Union Academy School. It was a few feet south of the present-day church along the narrow river road leading through Pigeon Forge. The school name changed to Pigeon Forge Academy, and its curriculum was later extended to include high school courses. Following a few months of free school in the fall, subscription school was offered. During the term which began in January 1898, tuition was on a graduated scale of one dollar to two dollars depending upon the grade. Those boarding in area homes
paid six dollars per month. The last classes were held here in 1922. A new school was constructed near the canning factory as progress continued to expand east of the river.