Buildings of St. Peter's Lutheran Church Chester Springs
Over the past two centuries five buildings have been used for worship by Lutherans on this hill. The first building was the log structure dedicated by Muhlenberg. In 1811, the deterioration of this edifice prompted the congregation to cooperate with the German Reformed neighbors in the construction of a new building. The following account of the cornerstone laying, dedication, and subsequent installation of an organ, is translated from records in the original German, now preserved in the library of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.
"It is hereby set forth that those who follow may know of the great love God has shown us and how he has blessed us; that we, in our great joy, on August 13, 1811, laid the cornerstone of a new Church in Pikeland Township, Chester County. On that day (the organizations of the Evangelical Lutheran and the Reformed congregations) laid it with song, prayer, and discourse in the pastorate of the Rev. Frederick W. Jasinsky, minister at that time.
The House of God, in the following year, with God's help and blessing, was completed, and on October 4, 1812, under the name of St. Peter's Church, in a fit and proper manner was dedicated and consecrated to God. It cost $2,836.45-1/2.
The outstanding accomplishment of the Councils of the Lutheran and Reformed Church of St. Peter's, in Pikeland Township, Chester County, was the determination to beautify the Church service by means of an organ. One was secured for $800 and on November 7, 1819, it was consecrated to the Worship of God."
According to tradition, these first two buildings were located in the middle of the cemetery which now lies between the two churches.On January 20, 1835, the second building was consumed by an incendiary fire. The following news account of the fire is preserved for us:
"The building for public worship in Pikeland Township, Chester County, denominated St. Peter's Church, was set fire to, as is supposed, by some incendiary, on the night of the twentieth inst., and entirely consumed. Circumstances indicate that the fire was communicated from the cellar; there had been no fire in the building for several days. The fire was far advanced before it was discovered, and the whole building cost 4 or 5,000 dollars was consumed; the silver cups, and other Church furniture and an organ estimated at 7 or 800 dollars, were entirely destroyed. The Trustees of the Society offer a reward of $200. for the detection of the villain, and the adjoining congregation of St. Zion have added $50. more."
Reconstruction began immediately, and April 15, 1836, the new church was dedicated. This building of 1835-36 is still standing and is used by St. Peter's United Church of Christ.
The story of the remaining two buildings will await other developments in congregational life which will explain why there were three buildings on this hill at the same time.