Augustus Lutheran Church

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Augustus Lutheran Church
Augustus Lutheran Church, 717 West Main Street, Trappe (Montgomery County, Pennsylvaina).jpg
Augustus Lutheran Church
Location 717 Main Street, Trappe, Pennsylvania
Built 1743
Architect Dr. Heinrich Melchior Muhlenburg
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 67000019[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP December 24, 1967[1]
Designated NHL December 24, 1967[3]
Designated PHMC September 03, 1947[2]

Augustus Lutheran Church, built during 1743–1745 in Trappe, Pennsylvania, is the oldest unchanged Lutheran church building in the United States in continuous use by the same congregation.[4]

The church, which cost 200 pounds sterling, was designed by Heinrich Melchior Mühlenberg. All of the interior fittings, except for the English-made pulpit, were fabricated from local materials. The building is built of local sandstone faced with stucco; the east end of the building is formed into a half-hexagon. The roof is framed with local timber and covered in wooden shakes. It replaced a nearby frame barn, and later, a stone schoolhouse, as the local house of worship. The cemetery at the rear of the building contains stones dating from 1736 and earlier, as well as the grave of Mühlenberg, his wife Anna Maria Weiser, and son Peter Muhlenberg. A monument at the west end of the church commemorates unknown soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Though the shell of the building was finished during 1743, the church was not consecrated until 1745. During the American Revolution, the building was used as a camping site and hospital for the Hessian troops. It is said that George Washington worshiped here later in the war; however, the accuracy of this story cannot be determined.

By 1860, however, the congregation had outgrown the old building, and a new brick church was built. This structure was consecrated in 1852, whereupon the old building became used for Sunday School classes. A freak thunderstorm later in the 19th century severely damaged the roof and destroyed the organ; however, it was decided to reconstruct the roof in its original configuration. A cast-iron stove was then added to the previously unheated building. Renovations in the 1920s restored the building to its original appearance. In the late 1950s, services were once again held in the Old Church in the summer and on Christmas Eve, a tradition which continues to the present day. A digital organ was placed in the original organ case in the early 1990s.

The church was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1967.[3][4]

It is located at 717 West Main Street, Trappe, Pennsylvania.

Over the entrance door is a mural stone naming the founders of the church, including Rev. Muhlenburg and Frederick Ludwig Marsteller, Muhlenburg's friend and sponsor. Muhlenburg, Marsteller and Rev. Muhlenburg's son, the American General, are buried together adjacent the church wall at the rear of the church.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers". Historical Marker Database. Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Augustus Lutheran Church". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-11-08. 
  4. ^ a b Patricia Heintzelman and Charles Snell (August 30, 1974). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Augustus Lutheran Church" (PDF). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 3 National Park Service photos, exterior, from 1967. PDF (970 KB)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°12′07″N 75°28′50″W / 40.2019°N 75.4805°W / 40.2019; -75.4805