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St. Severin's Log Chapel

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1851. 86859 PA 53

This small, simple rectangular log chapel is a remarkable artifact of the 1850s. A shingled square tower with a conical roof rises above wood-paneled double doors facing the forest that is steadily encroaching on the site and its cemetery. It is evocative of what Benedictine monk Boniface Wimmer called the “wild country” in 1854 (see WE26 and St. Mary's in Elk County). Entering the quiet, empty space of the chapel, graced only with a simple wooden altar table, one can imagine the sound of horse-drawn wagons and of wolves in the night. A hanging chimney heats the space and a small balcony, supported by narrow beams, lends access to the bell tower. The chapel's name derives from the land's donor, an Alsatian named Severin Nebel, who was named for St. Severin, Bishop of Cologne in the fourth century. Adjacent to this chapel and its surrounding cemetery is a stone church built one hundred years later, also called St. Severin.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.



Lu Donnelly et al., "St. Severin's Log Chapel", [Morrisdale, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 475-475.

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