Celebrating 200 Years of History in 2020

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church

Marker Information

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Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

1903 Newport, PA St. Paul's

This Newport Heritage Park location was made possible in 2015 by the generous community spirit of the congregation of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

First recorded Lutheran services were held in Newport homes and school houses by The Rev. John W. Heim as early as 1830.Preaching was done in German until 1842 when the pastor was requested to speak English also.

Formally organized in 1844 under the leadership of The Rev. Levi T.Williams, services were held at the brick school house on 2nd St. From 1847 to 1874, members shared space in the town’s first forma l religious edifice, the Union Church, with the Presbyterian and

Reformed congregations. The Union Church was located where the 1959 Newport Post Office now stands. St. Paul’s sold their one-third interest to the Presbyterians in 1877.

The Reformed Church constructed its own facility in 1868.

1900 ca Newport St. Paul's Lutheran

 

The St. Paul’s Romanesque style edifice was constructed in 1874 by builder Joshua Sweger for $15,000 which included land and furnishings.   The  auditorium  could seat approximately 500 persons,which at the time was probably the largest indoor space in Perry County. St. Paul’s was the first church in the Synod of Central Pennsylvania to have a pipe organ, installed ca 1885. The current organ dates from 1912,and Maas chimes were installed in 1947.

During World War II,the decaying timbered steeple was removed,and by the late 1940s the present belfry was capped. The sanctuary contains a nativity fresco by J. H. Froehlich completed  during the  1907 remodeling.

St. Paul stands as a symbol of the values of a people whose faith lives on ‘from age to age the same ‘.

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Newport News, January 15, 1890

Explosion of Gas – Jacob Tibbins, janitor of the Lutheran Church, Newport, last Friday evening shortly before 7 o’clock, went into a certain portion of the segment of the church to procure kindling.  In this apartment is kept gasoline from which gas is manufactured to light the building.  Unfortunately, a leak had occurred in the pipes and the gas filled the room, and when Mr. Bibbins entered a terrific explosion occurred.

He was hurled up a flight of stairs and crawled upon his hands and knees, out of the building, a mass of sparks, which were speedily fanned to flame.  Assistance answered his cries and the fire was extinguished, but not before he was badly burned about the face and hands.

The large doors at the entrance were torn from their hinges and wrecked.  Every pane of glass in the main auditorium was broken to pieces and the window sash twisted and forced out of place.  The Sabbath school room was damaged comparatively little.  But the vestibule floor was forced up several inches.

Several persons were in the building at the time of the explosion, and although greatly frightened were uninjured.  A lad passing just as the accident occurred was covered with sparks, but a friendly hand saved him from being burned.  The Sabbath school room had been lit for evening services, but fortunately the audience had not assembled else we might be called upon to chronicle a catastrophe.”

 

The Pastors and Church through the Decades

Some photographs are unidentified or the dates the pastors served unknown.
1830-18421843-45 Livi T. Williams, St. Paul's Lutheran congregation organizer 1843-18451845-1849 Lloyd Knight 2 1845-1849 Lloyd Knight 1849-1852 Jacob Martin 1849-1852 1852-53 Wm. Gerhardt 1852-1853 1855-1863 David Focht1863-1866Rev. CockranRev. KellyUnknown    1866-18711869 Lutheran Pastors        1871-18761876-1881 Michael Culver 21876-18811881-18841884 changes1884 repairs1884 St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Daniel W. Gant and joshua Sweger repairing steeple1885-1889 J. T. Gladhill1885-1889 J.T. Gladhill 21895-1900 G.M. Deeffenderfer perhaps1900 ca Joel GrubbJ.B. Baker1900 ca Newport St. Paul's Lutheran1900 ca prior to remodeling1900 ca unknown1900-1902 J. Henry Harins1903 Newport, PA St. Paul's1905 Remodeled St. Paul's1907 ca Newport, St. Paul's Philip Bosserman, superintendent1925 ca Newport, St. Paul's ladies classUnknown 2

 

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St Paul’s 150th Anniversary 1994

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Perry County Heritage Trail

The Perry County Bicentennial Committee is happy to be involved with the research and writing of much of the content of the history of Perry County. The committee has been instrumental in working with sponsors to procure and install the markers as shown in this Heritage Trail website.