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St. Paul's Episcopal Church

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1897–1899, William Halsey Wood. Pearl and Charles sts.
  • (© George E. Thomas)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

Wellsboro's first house of worship was a hewn-log meetinghouse built by Benjamin Wistar Morris for fellow Quakers. By the 1830s Wistar and his wife were dead, the meetinghouse was rotting, and local Quakers were drifting toward the Episcopal faith. On calling a Philadelphian from a New York seminary, St. Paul's was organized in 1838, making it Wellsboro's oldest surviving congregation. The Romanesque Revival building is the work of Wood, whose designs often bordered on the bizarre, here evidenced in the blast of light across the tower that referenced St. Paul's conversion but could also be taken for an octopus climbing out of the belfry. A turret adds to the mix of massive random rock-faced Antrim stone walls while forming a transition from the gabled vestibule and nave to the rather blunt tower. Wood was an accomplished church architect whose designs were sought by congregations (Episcopalians in particular) from Kansas City to Anniston, Alabama. St. Paul's was one of his last designs; he died the year that work on it began. John L. Robinson was one of the church's organizers and his son Jesse was one of the largest contributors to the 1890s building fund.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "St. Paul's Episcopal Church", [Wellsboro, 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, 564-564.

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