Trinity United Church of Christ - U.S. Civil War - Gettysburg, PA
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
N 39° 49.719 W 077° 13.743
18S E 309245 N 4411116
Quick Description: Seems like all the churches & schools played a role in the Battle of Gettysburg, the turning point of the Civil War. This church was no exception. It served as a hospital during the battle. A beautiful interpretive out front tells the tale.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 11/16/2010 8:06:54 PM
Waymark Code: WMA4TW
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
Views: 4

Long Description:

There is a series of interpretives around these old streets which really brings this historic district to life. Each one tells a small story, which when woven together, give the tapestry of Civil War life in this town, especially during the historic Battle of Gettysburg. This church, like many other structures on the street and around town, also acted as war hospitals during the great battle. Each one is an historic Civil War site.

The SOH is along the High Street side of the church near the intersection. The sign reads:

The original German Reformed Church located here in 1814, served as a "Union brick church" with the town's Lutheran congregation until 1848. The core of the present building, erected in 1851, was newly refurbished at the time of the battle.

On July 1st, following the Confederate occupation of Gettysburg, Dr. Abraham Stout, Asst. Surgeon 153rd PA., opened the church for a hospital at the urging of one of his captors. It was a welcome action. Dr. Stout recalled, "In less than half hour it was filled with wounded, mostly Union men."

For several days surgeons worked at operating tables in the "lecture room." Citizen volunteer nurses recalled newly painted walls "splattered" and pews "soaked" with blood. "and they ha to bore holes in the floor to let the blood run away..." Eventually, many wounded were transferred to the public school next door.

Following the battle, the church served a more traditional role. Jenny Wade, the only civilian killed in the battle, was buried in the adjoining church graveyard. She was reinterred in Evergreen Cemetery in November 1865.

During the Battle, they hung a red banner from the former cupola to let folks know it was a hospital and to not shoot or bomb there. The church site reports In 1863 this building served as a hospital for wounded soldiers of both armies during the “Battle of Gettysburg.” In 1918 it served as a “Y” hut for the soldiers of Camp Colt during World War I. There is also an old metal plaque on the building (see gallery) which reads Civil War Building 1863. I have seen these on many of the buildings in the historic district and I'd wager this is a contributing structure but right now I have no way of confirming it.


From my previous waymark on this site:

This series of interpretives around these old streets really brings this historic district to life. Each one tells a small story, which when woven together, give the tapestry of Civil War life in this town, especially during the historic Battle of Gettysburg. This church, like many other structures on the street and around town, also acted as war hospitals during the great battle.

The SOH is along the High Street side of the church near the intersection. The sign reads:

The original German Reformed Church located here in 1814, served as a "Union brick church" with the town's Lutheran congregation until 1848. The core of the present building, erected in 1851, was newly refurbished at the time of the battle.

On July 1st, following the Confederate occupation of Gettysburg, Dr. Abraham Stout, Asst. Surgeon 153rd PA., opened the church for a hospital at the urging of one of his captors. It was a welcome action. Dr. Stout recalled, "In less than half hour it was filled with wounded, mostly Union men."

For several days surgeons worked at operating tables in the "lecture room." Citizen volunteer nurses recalled newly painted walls "splattered" and pews "soaked" with blood. "and they ha to bore holes in the floor to let the blood run away..." Eventually, many wounded were transferred to the public school next door.

Following the battle, the church served a more traditional role. Jenny Wade, the only civilian killed in the battle, was buried in the adjoining church graveyard. She was reinterred in Evergreen Cemetery in November 1865.


From my previous waymark

Perhaps the most notable feature of the church is its massive bell tower crowned on all four corners by four white, pointy caps. The tower has three distinct levels, the bottom two have gothic type windows in pairs on the two outer sides facing the streets. They are of stained glass. The second floor windows are larger than the third floor window. The second floor has windows all around while the bottom floor only has windows on the two sides facing the intersection. In the actual bell housing area are great big open views, rectangularly oblong and curved at the top. The entire thing is of brick. The tower is at the front left corner, right at the intersection of E. High Street and South Stratton Street.

As far as the age of this church, that is kind of sketchy if you go by the multiple cornerstones, foundation and historical site accounts. I will go with the church's site: the present church’s cornerstone was laid on May 22, 1851. One gray cornerstone, low to the ground and along the street right at the side walk reads Trinity Reformed Church 1851 - 1891. This stone is at the bottom of the bell tower and is angle perfectly with the street intersection. I had no idea why this stone was laid 40 years after the initial construction unless the original stone was replaced with the one we see today. Then I took a much closer look at the original construction and the 1892 construction. The building was also built outward and so I guarantee the original stone was built over with brick. I'd wager that the stone was removed and is somewhere in the church today if not on display for its parishioners.

Another more recent, large marble date stone a foot off the ground along the sidewalk was implanted in 1990 to celebrate the 200 year anniversary celebration of the formation of the church. This stone reads 1790 - 1990. This stone is in the front along Stratton Street way to the right at the end of the structure. I found out from the church site that the congregation’s bicentennial celebration was observed in 1990. During that year a major renovation of the building was completed which involved remodeling and realigning the interior of the sanctuary. New additions included the chancel and gathering area, parlor, and offices along with the remodeling of the Fellowship Hall and church school classrooms.

The rest of the church is of brick as well. I have an old picture of the church and it does not resemble today's church. For one thing there is no bell tower and a cupola topped the front of it. But there are certain benchmarks that remain so I can see that it is still the same church. The church's website reads It was remodeled in 1892 with the addition of a vestibule, tower, and stained glass windows. In that same year, its name was changed to Trinity Reformed Church.

Like many of the nearby buildings, this also served as a hospital during the Civil War. They hung a red banner from the cupola to let folks no it was a hospital and to not shoot or bomb there. The church site reports In 1863 this building served as a hospital for wounded soldiers of both armies during the “Battle of Gettysburg.” In 1918 it served as a “Y” hut for the soldiers of Camp Colt during World War I. There is also an old metal plaque on the building (see gallery) which reads Civil War Building 1863. I have seen these on many of the buildings in the historic district and I'd wager this is a contributing structure but right now I have no way of confirming it.

A final history provided by the church:

Trinity United Church of Christ had its origin in 1790 when a group of German Christians, led by Rev. George Troldenier, of Holland, organized a church body. They met in a log cabin school room adjacent to our present building.

On January 27, 1812, the foundation for a “union church” was laid at the present location by the German Reform and German Lutheran congregations. English was introduced into the service in 1832 and six years later the first church school was organized. In 1836 a number of members, who had formed the Christ Lutheran congregation, left the “union church” and in 1850 the St. James Lutheran congregation decided to dissolve the union church as well.

Address:
60 East High Street Gettysburg, PA 17325-2319 (717) 334-7266


Name of War: U.S. Civil War

Type of Documentation: Historic Marker/Interpretive

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