York Churches Continually Evolve
Princess Street Chapel from Atlas of the City of York by Frederick Roe, 1903
A recent post told how the Ladies’ Aid Society of the Princess Street Evangelical Chapel successfully carpeted their church by raising the funds with an autograph quilt in 1909.
Click here to read that post.
I was curious as to what happened to that congregation and to their building. I found a trail that illustrates how many religious groups and sites change. New congregations are formed; some disappear or merge with others. One church body outgrows a building and another moves in.
The Princess Street Chapel story fits in with all of the above.
The Princess Street Chapel had in roots in 1883, when the YMCA conveyed it to board of trustees to carry on mission work and Sabbath school. It was leased to the Central Pennsylvania conference of the Evangelical Church for 99 years in 1907, but it didn’t last that long.
The rather sudden demise of the Princess Street Mission is somewhat of a mystery.
Rally Day attendance was 303 in 1914, but in 1919-1920 the chapel lost 126 members, leaving them with only 26. Four years later they were down to 21 members, leasing the building to Grace and Hope Mission on the condition that Grace & Hope would install a heating plant, repair and paint the building, and supply a janitor. The Princess Street Mission retained the right to hold Sunday School and preaching there. In 1931 the Evangelical church leased the building to Bethlehem Baptist Church.
Bethlehem Baptist had organized in 1926 under the name of Mt. Zion Baptist. In 1960 Bethlehem Baptist moved to 474 S. Pershing Ave. That church building was erected in 1937 by the First Assembly of God.
First Assembly of God was originally First Pentecostal Church of York, whose roots date back to a tent meeting held by Rohler’s Assembly of God at Brookside Park, near Dover, in 1921. When First Assembly of God sold their Pershing Ave. building to Bethlehem Baptist in 1960 they moved into the former Bethany Reformed Church building at Princess St. and Hawthorne St. Bethany Reformed (now Bethany United Church of Christ) dedicated a new building on West Locust St., not far from their old location, in 1960. In 1976 First Assembly of God dedicated a new building on the Susquehanna Trail north of York.
You could follow these branching trails on and on, but I won’t. I haven’t checked to see if there is still a church building at Princess and Hawthorne streets or followed Grace and Hope Mission to their present site. I did find out the location of the Princess Street Evangelical Mission that started this convoluted tale. It was at 131-137 West Princess, on the northwest corner of Princess and Park Alley. It isn’t there any more. In fact, neither is Park Alley. Almost all of that block is now one big parking lot opposite York High School.
Click on the links below for more on York County churches.
Baptist Alley lost its name.
Methodists break jugs.
A.M.E. Zion honors Aquilla Howard.
Click here to read about another York street that disappeared.