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Salem United Church of Christ (Salem Reformed Church)

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Salem Reformed Church
1821–1823, Stephen Hills(?); 1876; 1890 repairs. 231 Chestnut St.
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

According to George Morgan in The Annals of Harrisburg (1858), “The vestry by their building committee … contracted with Messrs. Samuel Pool and Henry V. Wilson, for the erection of a brick church sixty feet front and seventy-five feet deep with a tower one hundred and ten feet to the top of the wood work … for a sum of $8,000.” This account suggests that Pool and Wilson were builders and not the architects. A generation after the completion of the building, the interior was frescoed by “George Seiling, the celebrated Fresco Painter of Reading,” who later decorated the interior of St. John's Episcopal Church in Carlisle ( CU6). The recessed panels and the simple massing betray an early republic building—more likely by Stephen Hills, recent architect of the capitol—but the odd roof shapes and the Victorian interior provide hints about changes that began with a centennial-era makeover of the interior followed by a significant rebuilding after an arson fire in 1890. Despite those changes, the stepped tower and spire and the proportions of the facade suggest a level of architectural sophistication that befitted the early capital city.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Salem United Church of Christ (Salem Reformed Church)", [Harrisburg, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 345-346.

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