You are here

Crystal Spring Camp Meeting

-A A +A
1886. PA 3010 at Barton Rd., 1.5 miles southeast of Crystal Spring

Crystal Spring Camp Meeting, laid out by G. W. Cunard, is affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, which has a long history of open-air preaching. The ten-acre site has hosted camp meetings since 1857. The present camp includes a frame hotel-like structure west of approximately one hundred cottages and two pavilions. The organization of these almost identical cottages, in a horseshoe pattern around the tabernacles, lends the ensemble rhythm and cohesiveness. Permanent wooden two-story cottages, referred to as “tents,” twelve feet wide, sixteen feet deep, and twelve feet high were built as needed. Each unit has a shingled roof and vertical weatherboarding, and was left unpainted to avoid ostentation. They are used only in the summer months and have no fireplaces or electricity. Every cottage owner automatically became a member, and most attended the yearly camp meeting.

The first tabernacle, built in 1888 by N. B. Hixson, is a simple gable-roofed pavilion about forty feet square with open sides. Benches under the trees face the pulpit. The second tabernacle is much larger and has sheltered benches. Both structures, used for public worship, have gable roofs supported by braced posts, with vertical siding in the gable ends. Despite all the frame buildings on the site, cutting timber was forbidden in the bylaws, as the beauty of the surrounding forest was and continues to be part of the spiritual experience of the camp meeting.

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Crystal Spring Camp Meeting", [Crystal Spring, 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, 370-370.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.

, ,