York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Fawn Township’s magnificent Centre Presbyterian Church worthy of a looksee

Jim Marsteller took this photo of Centre Presbyterian Church in New Park. Fawn Township residents believe that the church is an accurate gauge of life in the town. ‘Things are going on all the time, every night of the week,’ he was quoted in a caption for this photo appearing in the Weekly Record in 2007. ‘Always something to do at church to spend time with others in our town and praise the Lord at the same time, together as a group, as a community.’ Background posts: Stewartstown Railroad: ‘Truly a unique entity in the state, and possibly, the nation’ , Old Shrewsbury house disappearing hand-hewn log, square nail at a time and ‘Yesteryears’ southern York County sites – Part II.

Local architectural expert Scott Butcher knew for some time about the wonderful style of Centre Presbyterian Church, within a literal stone throw from the Maryland Line in New Park.
So he made the long trip from York to see the Dempwolf-designed, 1880s-era rural church building and received a treat… .

He made these comments in a recent presentation, part of the York County Heritage Trust’s Second Saturday program.
The church building is an example of Richardson Romanesque architecture, he said, defined by heavy, rough-cut stone and huge, rounded arches.
The church reminds one a bit of Round Hill Presbyterian Church in Cross Roads, not far from New Park. One doesn’t expect to see such an architecturally significant building in such a rural setting.
But the congregation built and paid for the building without incurring debt, George Prowell wrote in his 1907 history. That gives a glimpse of the might of York County’s agricultural community in those years.
The church’s rural setting leaves one wondering where it gained it’s name “Centre.”
Center of what?
Prowell said the origins of the church’s name was unknown.
In his “York’s Historic Architecture,” Butcher wrote that it is believed that the church’s name came from its location in relation to Round Hill and Bethel Presbyterian congregations.
The church offers a wonderful surprise to Sunday afternoon motorists who happen upon it – or those like Butcher who now know about it and make the trip to southeastern York County for a looksee.
If you make the drive, take in Round Hill, Guinston and Slate Ridge Presbyterian churches for an afternoon of, ecclesiastical, architectural treats.
And for an additional look at the church, see Centre’s Web site.