St. Edward's Catholic Church

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St. Edward's Catholic Church
St Edward's Catholic Church (Shamokin, Pennsylvania).jpg
LocationShamokin, Pennsylvania, United States
DenominationCatholic
Websitewww.mothercabrini.net
Architecture
Completed1879
Administration
ArchdioceseDiocese of Harrisburg
Clergy
Pastor(s)Martin Kobos
Deacon(s)Adam Ziolkowski

St. Edward's Catholic Church was a church constructed in the late nineteenth century. It was located in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, within the Diocese of Harrisburg. It was claimed to be the first church in the world to use electric lighting. The electric current was provided by the Edison Illuminating Company of Shamokin and the light bulbs were installed under the supervision of Thomas Edison. The church was destroyed in 1971 and rebuilt as Mother Cabrini Catholic Church.

History[edit]

The first resident pastor for the church was Rev. J. J. Koch. He was given this position in September 1866.[1] The church building was initially planned by the pastor in early 1872 and the ground broken in September. White cut sandstone from the Big Mountain area and other building stone for construction was brought in on sleds from Shamokin Indian Park during the winter of 1872–73. They were cut to size on site by a dozen laborers and the cornerstone was laid May 23, 1873. The church tower was completed in 1875 and four years later the interior was finished.[2]

The church was dedicated June 6, 1880. It had an addition built on the back in 1882 to hold church records and vestments The church received electric lights in 1883.[3][4] Electric current to the church was supplied by the Edison Electric Illuminating Company of Shamokin.[5][6] It was claimed to be the first church in the world with electric lighting,[7][8][9][10][11] although according to records of an Edison museum, St. Edward's was preceded in that regard by the City Temple church in London and a church in Roselle, New Jersey.[12] The lights were first turned on September 22, 1883.[13] The complete electrical project was engineered and supervised by Thomas Edison.[14][15][16] The church is located at Shamokin Street and Webster Street near downtown Shamokin. It is within the Diocese of Harrisburg.[17]

The church interior was remodeled during 1906 and 1907. Decorations by the Italian artist Baraldi were used and stained glass windows added. Until 1932 the church steeple was the tallest structure in the area, but lowered then by 100 feet. In 1938 additional remodeling was done to the church. The church basement was converted into a social hall at that time. An extensive remodeling project was done in 1968 and 1969. Exterior work was done to repair the stone walls and mortar joints. Additional remodeling of the church interior was also done then. Canterbury crosses were mounted at the Stations of the Cross. On the main arch modern English words spoken by Christ from Matthew 11:28, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest replaced the old Latin text that was previously there. Other changes were the addition of symbols of the Trinity on the ceiling and other symbols put on the walls. A reproduction of Reubens' painting of the crucifixion of Christ was added to the interior of the church.[2]

The 99-year-old structure burned down in 1971. Only the stone walls remained of the church. The fire started at 2:00 a.m. on April 8, 1971. An unknown person discovered the fire and reported it immediately to local authorities who in turn called the fire department. It was suspected that a forgotten about lit candle near the altar may have started the fire. The chimneys of the church spread the fire rapidly to the roof of the building. It went from there to the 150-foot belfry, which acted like another chimney and spread the flames even further. When the steeple toppled it took out electric and telephone lines. Several hundred residents were without service for some time. The fire was so much out of control that the 200 volunteer firemen concentrated on just saving nearby structures. The church became a total loss. There were hundreds of spectators of the church fire, many of them parishioners. The church had a membership of 2,500.[2] The church was rebuilt and named Mother Cabrini Catholic Church in 1995. It is now again a fully functioning organization.[18][19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whipporwill 1911, p. 719.
  2. ^ a b c Deltz, Harry J. (April 8, 1971). "Fire Destroys St. Edward's Church". The News-Item. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read.
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Americana 1970, p. 656.
  4. ^ "St. Edward's Church". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. January 2, 1963. p. 16 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read.
  5. ^ "Foundation Of". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. February 28, 1953. p. 3 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. Historically, Shamokin can claim that St. Edward Church was the first church in the world to be lighted by electricity.
  6. ^ Bob Broderick (April 7, 1976). "Across The Desk". The Morning Herald. Uniontown, Pennsylvania. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. Since the parish church was being built at that time, Mr. Mullen saw to it that the new form of electrical wiring and lighting was installed there, making, it the first church in the world to be so illuminated.
  7. ^ "Electric Light is 55 Years Old". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. July 5, 1938. p. 2 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. St. Edward's Church here became the first church in the world to be illuminated with electric current.
  8. ^ "First Lighted". Garrett Clipper. Garrett, Indiana. April 24, 1952. p. 7 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. First Lighted The first church in the world to be lighted by electricity was St. Edward's Catholic Church of Shamokin, Pennsylvania.
  9. ^ "Shamokin's claim to fame". New Castle News. New Castle, Pennsylvania. April 3, 1976. p. 4 – via open access publication – free to read. Saint Edward's Church in Shamokin, Northumberland County, has the historical distinction of being the first church in the world to be lighted by electricity.
  10. ^ McDonnald 1951, p. 656.
  11. ^ JEWO 1947, p. 194.
  12. ^ "For the Record". Editorials. Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. February 23, 1951. p. 6 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read.
  13. ^ "First Electric Light Historical Marker". Historical Markers. Explore PA History. 2011. Retrieved March 7, 2018. Saint Edwards Catholic Church on Shamokin Street, which that night became the first church in the world to be lighted by electricity.
  14. ^ Fire Engineering 1971, p. 28.
  15. ^ "City Asked to join in Tribute to Edison". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. October 21, 1929. p. 1 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. while St Edward's church was the first place of worship in the world to be lighted by incandescent globes.
  16. ^ "Answers to Ask Me Another". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. March 14, 1928. p. 5 – via Newspapers.com open access publication – free to read. St. Edward's Catholic church. Shamokin, Pennsylvania. The Job was engineered by Thomas A. Edison.
  17. ^ Best Books 1940, p. 537.
  18. ^ "Mother Cabrini Catholic Church". Mother Cabrini Church. 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2018. Historical Note: The current church building of Mother Cabrini stands on the same location as the former St. Edwards church, which was the first church in the United States wired for electric lighting. This was done by none other than former Sunbury, PA resident Thomas Edison in 1883.
  19. ^ "Shamokin, Pennsylvania, United States". Place Beam. 2017. Retrieved March 6, 2018. St. Edwards Catholic Church was the first church in the world to have electric lighting.

Sources[edit]

  • Best Books (1940). A Guide to the Keystone State,. Best Books on. ISBN 978-1-62376-037-3. first church in the world lighted by electricity
  • Encyclopedia Americana (1970). The Encyclopedia Americana international edition. St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church, erected in 1873, is said to have been the first church in the world lighted by electricity.
  • Fire Engineering (1971). Fire Engineering. Technical Publication. St. Edward's Church has long been looked upon as a historic landmark by area residents. The structure was the first church in the world to be lighted by electricity and the wiring was installed under the personal direction of Thomas A. Edison.
  • JEWO (1947). The Journal of Electrical Workers and Operators. The Brotherhood. St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church in Shamokin, was the first building of its kind in the world to be illuminated by electric light.
  • McDonnald, Alexander Hopkins (1951). The Encyclopedia Americana. Americana Corporation. St. Edward's Roman Catholic Church, erected in 1873, is said to have been the first church in the world lighted by electricity.
  • Whipporwill (1911). Genealogical and Biographical Annals. Whipporwill Publications. St. Edward’s was the first church in the world to be lighted with electricity

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°47′22″N 76°33′06″W / 40.7895°N 76.5516°W / 40.7895; -76.5516