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Blooming Grove Dunkard Meetinghouse

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1828. 297 Dunkard Church Rd., 2 miles east of Balls Mills, 7.2 miles north of Williamsport.

Since 1828 the Blooming Grove Dunkard Meetinghouse on a hillside in a narrow valley has seen little change. The simple one-story three-by-two-bay building is built of massive hewn logs with daubed chink construction and half-dovetail corner notching. Protective weatherboards were removed in 2004, exposing the logs. The one-room exposedlog interior has no pulpit, benches without backs remain as the meetinghouse's seating, and iron stoves stand at each gable end. Behind the meetinghouse is a cemetery with German-language gravestones dating from 1828. Blooming Grove's Dunkards traced their roots to the Brethren whose 1708 origins were in Schwarzenau, North-Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The term “Dunkard” comes from the German word “tunken,” meaning “to dip,” and refers to the baptismal ceremony in which the believer is dipped face-first into the water. The earliest Brethren came to Pennsylvania in 1719 and Blooming Grove's Dunkards came to Philadelphia's Germantown in 1804. They purchased land unseen and arrived here in May 1805. The origin of the community's name is unclear. One account claims it arose from the blooming native dogwoods and rhododendrons that the settlers first encountered; another suggests the name was given after the blooming of their first crops. The last member of the congregation died about 1930. Today the meetinghouse is used by the Blooming Grove Historical Society.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Blooming Grove Dunkard Meetinghouse", [Cogan Station, 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, 576-577.

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