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  • Ephrata Cloister (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Ephrata Cloister (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

The oldest of the surviving structures, the Saal combines medieval German building practices in its hewn oak half-timber frame infilled with stone, its cladding in hand-hewn weatherboards, and its double-tapered hewn shingles each fastened with a single nail. G. Edwin Brumbaugh's account of learning how clapboards were made using a “frow” marks his attention to craft detail in the restoration of the complex. The steep shingled roof is interrupted with shed dormers that light the upper levels above the meeting room. The Saal was directly attached to the adjacent Saron ( LA34.2) for ease of access for the midnight services that were part of Johann Beissel's means of controlling his congregation. The meeting room itself is balconied and subdivided by immense wood piers, one in the center of the space and the others supporting the balconies. They are chamfered in a way that gives the effect of primitive capitals not unlike the Lutheran church ( MO29) in Trappe. They have a crucial role in supporting the upper stories that contained a meeting hall and community dining room in the manner of the “upper room” of the Last Supper.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Saal", [Ephrata, 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, 327-328.

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