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Zion Reformed Church (Zion Lutheran Church)

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Zion Lutheran Church
1811, 1835, c. 1900. S. Main and W. Liberty sts.

Chambersburg's links to Philadelphia are evident in the remarkable late Georgian–style Zion Church whose tower, recalling both Philadelphia's Christ Church (PH4) and its Reading and York descendents (BE7, YO11), rises above the houses in the southern part of the town. Its stepped gable is reminiscent of the contemporary Reformed Church in Gettysburg, suggesting a shared building tradition that links from Philadelphia through the German piedmont to the mountains that formed the frontier. A log church was built in 1785 on land donated by Benjamin Chambers, but a quarter of a century passed before funds could be raised for a permanent building. The cornerstone was laid in 1811 and the church was completed a year later. A tiny hand-stitched sampler in the church collection shows the original configuration of the church with a pair of doors on the Main Street facade providing access to the worship space and with the pulpit on the opposite long wall. In 1835, the building was reconfigured to a more “churchly” plan with the altar moved to the south end that was presumably added then. Spaces flanking the tower house stairs that give access to balconies.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Zion Reformed Church (Zion Lutheran Church)", [Chambersburg, 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, 382-382.

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