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Church of the Annunciation

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1886–1889, Amos S. Wagner. 700 W. 4th St.
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

Annunciation's congregation was established in 1865 when sixty Irish families received the bishop's permission to form their own parish; their first church was built in 1867. A few years later Peter Herdic gave the parish its present lot, and in 1886 construction of the new Romanesque Revival church began. Wagner's design aspired to cathedral status. Built of rock-faced Ralston sandstone with Hummelstown brownstone trim, it has forty-three stained glass windows. A central tower with a hexagonal spire was envisioned, but during construction the scaffolding failed and four workers fell to their deaths. The spire scheme was abandoned and Wagner terminated the tower with corner pinnacles (since removed). In 1914, the Daprato Statuary Company installed the Carrara marble altars and railings and statues. The Tiffany Studios Ascension of Christ window behind the main altar was installed in 1925. After Vatican II, some minor interior changes were made in the mid-1960s, but the space, especially the half-domed apse flanked by paired columns with gilded Corinthian capitals, remains among Wagner's finest works. The adjacent Monsignor William J. Fleming Center was built in 1978, and the parish adapted the Smith-Ulman House (1870, Isaac Hobbs) at 634 W. 4th Street as its rectory. Amos Wagner was born in nearby Montgomery in 1840 and moved to Williamsport when he was eighteen to learn carpentry from Eber Culver. He studied drafting at night, and by 1869 he was designing on his own.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Church of the Annunciation", [Williamsport, 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, 575-575.

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