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HISTORY LIVES: St. Paul’s Lutheran Church


Lutheran worship services were begun in Doylestown by Rev. Ferdinand Berkemeyer in 1860 and held in the county courthouse.

During the following year, the German Lutheran congregation was invited to use St. Paul’s Episcopal Church to gather.

For the next three years worshipers met in the Union Academy at the corner of Broad and Court streets for services Sunday mornings in German and Sunday evenings in English.

In 1864, the congregation moved to the Masonic Hall on East State Street; and again in 1866 the Lutherans relocated to the Cemetery Chapel on Court and Spruce streets.

Finally, groundbreaking for a two-story Lutheran church building was held on July 21,1868, at the corner of North Main and Spruce streets in an area of town known as Germany and at the bottom of the slope descending from Broad Street known as Germany Hill. After legal and financial delays, the entire church building was dedicated on March 4, 1877; and a bell tower was added in 1889.

Despite extensive work done over the decades to increase the space and usability of the 72-year-old church, in 1949 the congregation approved the purchase of two properties for expansion, located across Spruce Street at 301 N. Main St.

An Educational Building or “Parish House” was constructed on this land in 1952. In 1963, an adjoining new worship facility was dedicated, and the old church was demolished.

Further property acquisitions beginning in 1979 enabled a series of expansion projects to increase the size of the church complex and provide for program growth. In 1993 a new two-story, seven-classroom educational wing was opened; and the nursery school was expanded. And, in 2003 a final addition was completed, despite an exposed aquifer which The Intelligencer described as spouting “water in biblical proportions.”

Source: Creating a Vision~Building for Mission, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, E. Scott Teschner, 2013.

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