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Widows’ House

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1766–1768. 53 W. Church St.
  • Widows' House (Richard W. Longstreth)
  • Widows' House (Richard W. Longstreth)

The Widows’ House was built to house the “widows’ choir” ( Witwenchor), the social system by which Moravian widows, like single men and women, lived communally. A handsome drawing of 1760 survives in the Moravian archives, probably by Andreas Höger, proposing a capacious three-story building. When finally built, it was reduced in size to a two-story building of rubble, capped by a double attic, though Höger's plan survived with its central stair hall and transverse corridor. Its two brick double chimneys are distinctive, each rising through the building as two separate flues but corbeled toward each other near the roof in the upper attic; above the roof, a connecting brick web at each pair runs over the ridge. Apart from the elimination of the original jerkinhead at the west, the Widows’ House is the least altered eighteenth-century Moravian building in Bethlehem.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Widows’ House", [Bethlehem, 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, 275-276.

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