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First Baptist Church of Damascus

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1832; 1873–1874 remodeled. 1678 River Rd. (PA 371)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

The spire of this Baptist church dominates the center of Damascus much like a New England Congregational church. Baptists were among the first of the New England settlers to reach northern Pennsylvania and many of the early towns have buildings that look to their New England roots. The chunky Victorian trim on the facade was the result of a remodeling in the 1870s, though the original fanlight and vestibule's front door trim remain. These are in keeping with a more delicate Gothick style that is evident in the pointed arches of the sanctuary. Across the street is a store whose late Victorian style attests to the continuation of the transportation boom until the end of the century.

The narrow river road between Damascus and Milanville reveals a new sort of metropolitan presence in Wayne County: adventurous weekend houses by New York City architects. Two that stand next to each other are Smith-Miller + Hawkinson's “MAX-Min” house (2003) for architectural historian Kenneth Frampton, a wood-clad prism that leaps off its hillside to capture views across the Delaware valley, and Bone/Levine Architects’ 2003 glassy celebration of an 1850s post-and-beam barn frame.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas



George E. Thomas, "First Baptist Church of Damascus", [, 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, 535-537.

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