York Town Square

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St. Paul’s Lutheran’s members worshipped on day Rebels invaded York, Pa. – at least 8 of them did

York, Pa.’s St. Paul’s Lutheran Church sits in the upper left, the northwest corner, of South George Street and Springettsbury Avenue. That’s the former Hahn Home, now a funeral home, on the northeast corner; the former Whiteley home (of the Dentsply Whiteley’s) on the southeast corner and the recently renovated Schmidt house on the southwest corner. Springdale, the estate that gave the area its name, sat in the lower right part of this photograph, now occupied by the Unitarian Universalist congregation. This very cool view comes courtesy from the York County Data and Assessment office. Also of interest: German or English? York County, Pa., churches disputed language and Civil war prompted strife in churches, too and Panoramic views of York County, Pa., offer wide-eyed wonders.

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, can point to its part in many historical moments.
As just one example, the south York church, which withdrew from Christ Lutheran to form an English-speaking congregation in 1836, met the morning that the Confederates invaded York on June 28, 1863.
Here’s an excerpt from my “East of Gettysburg” about that moment:

Earlier, Charles Morris had placed his hat on his head, ready for church at St. Paul’s Evangelical English Lutheran.
“Charles, where are you going?” his wife, Cassandra Small Morris, asked.
“To church,” he answered calmly.
Morris met with seven other congregants for worship in a full Sunday service, despite the Confederate presence.
St. Paul’s minister, the Rev. William M. Baum, was a Unionist. In recent weeks, he had been drilling with other residents of York, carrying a wooden gun.
Another congregant that day, a man named Major Emmitt, was the son of a commissary major in the War of 1812. His father’s rank was transferred by inheritance to his son.

Also of interest:
For another local Civil War incident linked to St. Paul’s Lutheran, visit: Archivist’s finding sheds light on famous note among the roses
Also of interest, II
A brief history courtesy of St. Paul’s website:

The English-speaking members of Die Deutsche Lutherische Kirche (Christ Lutheran Church, which was the first Lutheran congregation west of the Susquehanna) formed St. Paul’s New English Evangelical Lutheran Church in 1836.
For the previous 100 years, the early English settlers in York had worshipped in German with their German neighbors, but by 1836 some English speakers no longer felt it necessary.
Wishing to hold services in English in their own church building, the group organized Feb. 18, 1836, to purchase property at King and Beaver streets and conducted their first service Dec. 12, 1836, in the partially finished basement.
The church’s second building — constructed in 1869 — was destroyed by a fire in 1939. St. Paul’s, St. Luke’s and Augsburg congregations merged to form the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church of today.
A new building was dedicated at Springettsbury Avenue and South George Street in 1942.

Also of interest, III:
A schedule of 175th anniversary events can be found on St. Paul’s website. I will be speaking at 9 a.m., Sunday on “St. Paul’s Place in Early York Lutheranism.”
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