St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, York–More Saved Treasures
I have done a couple of blog posts on York’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, whose congregation is celebrating its 175th Anniversary this month.
One of the most horrific, but memorable, events in St. Paul’s history was the January 1939 arson-set fire that destroyed old St. Paul’s, which sat on the southeast corner of King and Beaver Streets. Fighting the fire through a cold snowy night with a million gallons of water, the York Fire Department successfully kept the fire from spreading to nearby buildings, including Central Elementary School. Two York City Police detectives quickly figured out the identity of the arsonist. Click here for my column on the fire and the apprehension of the pyromaniac.
A window showing Jesus as the Good Shepherd was the only one of the beautiful stained glass windows that was saved. It is beautifully displayed at the present St. Paul’s at South George Street and Springettsbury Avenue. The altar cross and candlesticks were also retrieved, and they have a place of honor on the altar today. Click here for photos of the window and the cross and candlesticks.
See below for more treasures saved after the fire:
According to newspaper articles at the time of the fire, there were only a few other items were salvaged–Bibles and an American flag. It sounded like the beautifully carved altar seen above was also destroyed. It recently came to light, however, that the stunning carvings of the four apostles have survived and are in the collections of York County Heritage Trust. In the pre-fire photo above, the pulpit is in place on the right side of the chancel. In the photo below, taken shortly after the fire, you can see it setting askew on the left side of the chancel.
The original carvings, two-feet high, were designed by York architect Frederick Dempwolf and carved by the Chapman Decoration Company of Philadelphia. They were commissioned as a memorial to Dr. Charles A. and Emma c. Eisenhart by their five sons, William S., Luther F., Jacob C., Harry W. and Martin H. Eisenhart. The carvings of the evangalists are currently on display in the cases outside the Meeting Hall at York County Heritage Trust, 250 East Market Street, York, PA, and can be seen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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