Thursday, April 22, 2010

Worthington Evangelical Lutheran Church, circa 1889-1910

A real photograph post card of the Worthington Evangelical Lutheran Church, Worthington, PA.  The card is postdated May 9, 1910.  The photo depicts the church as seen from slightly down hill on Worthington's West Main Street.  The exterior of the church has barely changed since the time of this photograph.

This structure is the third home of the congregation.  The church has its origin in a Lutheran Sunday School started by Peter Graff I, in the 1846.  Graff began a village Sunday School in a harness shop located across the street from the current church's location.  In 1847 Graff and others organized the first Lutheran Parish in the area since the failure of an earlier Lutheran Church near Slate Lick. That church seems to have collapsed in the 1820's or 30's.  Graff was a local businessman and entrepreneur who had moved from upstate New York to Pittsburgh and from Pittsburgh to the then village of Buffalo Furnace to reorganize and develop several small industrial concerns.  A devout Lutheran, Graff established the Parish and was it's chief financial and lay spiritual supporter during his life.  The Parish was a member of the General Synod, a branch of American Lutheranism that was evangelical, low church and pro-English language use.  As the Parish grew the members built a simple frame meeting house that served as a village school and as a church.  This structure was replaced in the 1850's by a grander brick church with a steeple and the first church bell in the neighborhood, this structure was located on the same spot as the current church.  It was replaced in the period of 1887-89 with the current structure.

The interior of the church was later remodeled in the early 1950's and substantially remodeled again in 1970/71, and a final and thorough restoration project was launched and completed in stages between 1996 and 2000, one that has greatly enhanced the appearance of the interior of the church and restored many of the 19th century architectural features.  Currently the church is a member of the ELCA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

The back of this post card carries the following information concerning the Detrich family of Worthington and Kittanning:

Transcription of text:

Mrs C. H. Detrich
420 Highland Ave.
Kittanning . Penna.

Dear Mamma, - Pap is about the same as he was when you left.  We can not see the least bit of difference in him.  I will call you up if we see any change.  Nita [&?] John[s?] did not come down.