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Wysox Presbyterian Church (Old Brick Church)

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Old Brick Church
1828. PA 187, north of U.S. 6, Wysox, 3 miles east of Towanda
  • Wysox Presbyterian Church (Old Brick Church)

Few buildings illustrate the Yankee influence in Pennsylvania's Northern Tier as clearly as this church. After hearing a fiery sermon by the Reverend Jabez Cutler, six New England men organized a Congregational church here in 1791, making it Pennsylvania's first church for people of European origin north of Wilkes-Barre (there had been earlier Indian missions). In 1828, the congregation began construction of the present brick structure. Two years later local Congregationalists and Presbyterians, who largely agreed on doctrine, merged and the church has been Presbyterian ever since. The small church has a strong New England feeling to it, even though it copies no particular church. It combines such conventional Federal-style elements as the semielliptical fanlight, front wall blind arches framing the tall round-arched windows, oculi in the tower, and a hexagonal cupola. Details are finished plainly; the fanlight has straight-line muntins and the tower's pinnacles are blunt (perhaps inspired by those on Boston's Old North Church). The single entrance and the gable without a cornice return were not unusual for small New England churches of the period. The interior with its two aisles and gallery on Tuscan columns is essentially unchanged, and like many early churches, the pews face east, though here the entrance does, too. The original pulpit (with flanking stairs) and pews were restored in 1976. The congregation added a one-story church hall at the church's northwest corner in 1960. Nearby, at the intersection of PA 187 and U.S. 6, is the house (1872) of a powerful Northern Tier Republican, Victor Piollet, whose daughter married Robert Packer of Mauch Chunk. Greatly remodeled it is still monumental, with a central octagonal skylighted hall. PA 187 continues north to Rome and south across the Susquehanna, passing several pre–Civil War houses.

Writing Credits

Author: 
George E. Thomas
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Citation

George E. Thomas, "Wysox Presbyterian Church (Old Brick Church)", [, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/PA-02-BR17.

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