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Thursday, April 21, 2016

The "The Cool Town With A History: Part IV - The Moravians & Their Square" Story


Small map showing the location of all buildings on the square.
It was an ordinary day.  Walking around Lititz Moravian Church Square admiring the buildings and snapping a few photographs to share with you to illustrate my next entry about the coolest town in America.  As you might remember reading in another recent story, a man by the name of Count Nicholas Louis von Zinzendorf of Saxony, Germany arrived in Lancaster County in 1742 to preach, the result being an offer of land to bring a Moravian settlement to the area.  By 1755, Moravians had arrived.  Count Zinzendorf named the new Warwick settlement Litiz (early spelling) on June 26, 1756, in commemoration of the Castle of Lidice and Citadelou, located in northeastern Bohemia near the Moravia border.  The Moravian church was actually begun by John Hus who, as a Catholic priest in 1402, preached his sermons in his native Czech tongue instead of Latin.  He gained many followers by preaching in the peasant tongue and challenging the Pope's practice of selling indulgences to raise money for the church.  He was later imprisoned and burned at the stake for his beliefs in 1415.  It was his small band of followers who evolved into the Moravian Church.  By 1759 the group of German converts living in Lititz celebrated their first Easter in traditional Moravian style.  The Lititiz Moravians adopted the separate housing units and communal economy of the main Moravian settlements in Bethlehem and Nazareth, Pennsylvania.  Since they wanted to keep their community pure and unified, they kept their settlement closed to non-Moravians for the next hundred years.  One of those first Moravians, William Rauch, began making pretzels about 1810 which led to the pretzel bakery located along Main Steet in Lititz (you probably read about this in another story).  Another Moravian, David Tannenburg, began manufacturing organs and pianos in the mid-1700s that became famous for their beautiful workmanship and tone.  An organ built by David still resides in the current Moravian Church in Lititz.  In 1765 a branch of the Collegia musica began in Lititz which brought together amateur musicians to play both sacred and secular music.  Today the Moravian Church Trombone Choir is well known throughout Lancaster County.  The Moravians guarded their membership closely and their founders in Lititz had the goal of living in a community where spiritual needs were the focus, not worldly concerns (much like Lancaster County's Amish sect).  An administrative committee supervised all aspects of life in Lititz.  Each resident, who had to be Moravian, was required to sign the Town Regulations of 1759 agreeing to abide by its terms of "No dancing matches; taverning (except for the necessary entertaining of strangers and travelers); beer-tappings; feasting at weddings, christenings or burials; common sports and pastimes; nor the playing of the children in the streets shall be so much heard of amongst the inhabitants.  They that have inclinations that way cannot live at Lititz."  Also, "No marriage shall be contracted or made without the privity and appropriation of the Elders and of the congregation and choirs.  Nor shall anyone attempt to promote or make secret matches."  The church owned all land and leased it to residents.  Businesses were allowed to exist with a general store, tavern, pharmacy (the first in Lancaster County) a potash factory, a gristmill and sawmill, several farms, and a few individual businesses that were approved by the Aufseher Collegium to which all businesses had to report.  All was well until 1855 when the charter changed and Lititz opened its doors to new businesses and the lease system ended with lots being sold to the homeowners and people of all faiths being welcome.  Worldliness had arrived in Lititz as it exists today.  Follow with me as I take you around the Moravian Church Square that was established in 1757.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.
This photograph shows the buildings on the left side of the square.
This photograph shows the buildings on the right side of the square.
To the far left is Linden Hall Mary Dixon Memorial Chapel built in 1885.  It is an example of High Victorian style architecture with a Germanic ambiance.  Linden Hall student Mary Dixon died of tuberculosis three years after her 1897 graduation and her father, a Bethlehem Moravian, committed the necessary funds before his death in 1884 to build the chapel.
The street marker telling about Linden Hall.
This is the Anstalt or Stengel Hall built in 1769.  It was built to accommodate students from other communities such as Lancaster and Bethlehem.  An addition to the right and rear of the building was built in 1844 as the headmaster's residence.  It also was used as student and faculty residences, offices, chapel, kitchen and dining room.
This is known as the Single Sister's House which was built in 1758.  It is the oldest building on Church Square and is to the left of the church and parsonage.  To the far left you can see the white archway that leads to Stengel Hall.  The Moravians were early believers in the education of women and this building was built to house the woman at Linden Hall.
The Moravian Church was the centerpiece of the Church Square.  The original church was consecrated on August 13, 1787.  The present-day church dates to the first renovation in 1857 when Samuel Lichtenthaeler designed a pedimented pavilion projecting to the front.  It provided an entry lobby with circular stairs to the galleries, with provisions for the choir and a new pipe organ.
The beautiful entrance into the church. 
This is the landmark spire which is the centerpiece of the church.  The spire was designed by David Tannenberg, the noted colonial organ builder, who lived in Lititz. 


This building stands to the right and rear of the church and is known as the Leichen Kappelchen or Corpse  House.  It was constructed in 1786 and is one of the architectural "gems" of Lancaster County.  Since Moravians do not allow the dead inside the church proper, their remains were housed in this house until burial.  On either end of the small building were round windows at the top to allow for ventilation inside the house.   
To the right of the Corpse House stands the Single Brothers' house which was designed by the Rev. Gottlieb Petzold in the European style.  The structure had limestone walls and Gambrel roofs with jerkin ends and shed dormers.  The cornerstone was laid on July 4, 1759, but the first boarders didn't arrive until 1761.  Today the house carries a layer of stucco, but you can see on a side wall what the house looked like years ago.   General George Washington used this house as a Military Hospital from Dec. 19, 1777 to Aug. 28, 1778 to care for the wounded soldiers of the Continental Army.  This building was also used by the Medical Department of the Army of the Federated States of America as the first American Formulary or the first pharmacy in the United States.
A photo hangs on the exterior of the building which shows how the front of the building appeared when it was first built.  
To the rear of the Single Brothers' House is a section of wall showing the original limestone before a layer of stucco was added.  


The final piece of the square is the Lititz Moravian Archives & Museum building. 

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