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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The "A Loving Memorial To A Son" Story

Coleman Memorial Chapel in Northern Lancaster County, PA
Click to enlarge photos.
It was an ordinary day.  Walking around this really neat old chapel that was built in northern Lancaster County in 1874.  To the right of the chapel stands the parsonage while the caretaker's house is to the left.  
Cornerstone of the chapel
Coleman Memorial Chapel, at 1980 Furnace Hills Pike, was built near the town known as Brickerville in memory of  James Coleman who died at the age of 14 in March of 1874.  His parents, George and Deborah, had the chapel built after James died in a horseback riding accident.  The Coleman's owned several iron furnaces in Lancaster and Lebanon, Pennsylvania and had already built a small structure in the 1750s that served as a meeting place for Sunday School for their employees and their children.  They decided to build the Chapel to the east of the structure in honor of their deceased son and set the corner stone in 1874, but the chapel wasn't dedicated until July of 1877.  
This photograph shows the delicate wood trim of the chapel
George Coleman was a third-generation heir to the iron business he ran and also served in the state House of Represen- tatives as well as the State Senate. A year after the Chapel was dedicated George died.  Deborah was involved in the preservation of the forests of Pennsylvania and was praised in "Forest Leaves" for her work.  
A memorial Tiffany window in memory of James Coleman
She died in 1894.  After James' death, the Colemans hired Luther Simon, well known archi- tect from nearby Harrisburg to design the chapel.   He designed it to look like a miniature version of a large Gothic cathedral, built of local sandstone with beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows and hand-painted Scripture quotations on parchment and a gold-leafed vaulted ceiling.  Behind the altar of the chapel are leathered-covered doors that open to reveal the original 1750s meeting room.  A neat feature of the chapel are the seats that were designed so the backs can be flipped to face the opposite direction.  On Easter Sunday the congregation, who face the west, can flip the seats and sit facing the east and watch the sun rise.  Coleman Memorial Chapel is a non-denominational place of worship and invites all to services on Sunday Morning.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.


Another photograph showing the Chapel
This photograph shows the very unusual steeple of the church.
Kerosene lamp at the entrance to the Chapel
Beautiful doors with old hardware draw you into the Chapel
The original parsonage
This photograph shows the side of the chapel and to the far left, made of different stone, is the original structure from the 1750s

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