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Jumonville Methodist Training Center (Soldier's Orphan School)

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Soldier's Orphan School
1874, 1941. 887 Jumonville Rd. (PA 2021)

Now occupied as a Methodist summer camp, this 275-acre site on Chestnut Ridge was named for the ensign killed in 1754 when George Washington and his troops surprised a party of French soldiers at the start of the French and Indian War. The site was used later as an orphanage and school for Civil War soldiers' children until 1908, then as a summer hotel until 1941. In the 1870s, the orphanage and school moved to this site from Uniontown with about 150 children ages three to sixteen. Several of the surrounding buildings remain from this period, including the stone office called Fleming Lodge and the stone Ann Murphy Building to the east. The stone chapel of 1882 was dedicated as a Lutheran church. In 1972, it was enlarged slightly, changed to a nondenominational space, and then renamed for coke operator Harry Whyel, who donated the entire property to the Methodists for use as a camp. The other camp buildings, primarily frame, were built during the late 1940s and 1950s with periodic updates.

The idea to erect an enormous cross on Dunbar's Knob (2,480 feet above sea level) east of the camp was first suggested in 1942. Louis C. Steiner, of the Latrobe Foundry and Machine Company, donated the material in 1950 to make the over sixty-foot-high steelplated cross, which has twelve-foot-long arms supported by an interior armature. The six-foot-deep foundation for the cross is made up of 183 tons of concrete. Illuminated at night, the cross is visible throughout the valley to the west. Warren “Bud” Parkins was the architect, and H. M. Logan of Philadelphia, the project engineer. Attempts to landscape around the base of the cross have not survived the harsh winters on the knob, and the cross itself has been the victim of vandals. As a result, today its base is surrounded by a chain-link fence.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Jumonville Methodist Training Center (Soldier's Orphan School)", [Hopwood, 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, 259-260.

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