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Oley Valley Churches

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18th–20th centuries. Oley Valley
  • (© George E. Thomas)

At Kauffman and Covered Bridge roads is the Salem Reformed Church whose datestone records eighteenth-, nineteenth-, and early-twentieth-century building phases. Adjacent is Christ Lutheran Church with datestones inscribed 1821 and 1908. Again, these churches show forms that may be seen as contemporary interpretations of German sources (the Lutheran church) or, in the case of the great Palladian window in the Salem church's apse, memories of Robert Smith's demolished Zion Lutheran Church in Philadelphia. Its short tower serves as a landmark from the covered bridge to the north. As important as the churches in understanding the makeup of the early communities are the regularly spaced one-room schools that mark the impact of the state's mid-nineteenth-century school laws. In 1900 there were roughly 350 such schools including several that can still be seen in the Oley Valley.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Oley Valley Churches", [, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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