History of St. Peter's Lutheran Church
On a hill in West Pikeland Township, in northern Chester County, Pennsylvania, stand two churches. Many visitors ask why there are two edifices on this one high point. They are even more puzzled when told that once three churches stood on this same hill.
The story of these churches provides a study in small scale of the history of American Lutheranism for two centuries. The growth, the divisions, and the reunions of the church have all been lived and known in this place. These divisions and reunions are portrayed on St. Peter's family tree, click here to view the family tree. At first there was one congregation, founded by German Lutherans who built on land purchased in 1771. Their church was of logs and was located between the two present buildings. In 1811, the Lutherans joined with their German Reformed neighbors to erect a stone building, which was used until destroyed by fire in 1835. This was replaced by the building used today by St. Peter's United Church of Christ and located on the lower part of the hill. From 1836 until 1889, the Lutheran and Reformed congregations shared this building, known as Lower Pikeland. In 1841, the Lutheran congregation divided, and a second Lutheran congregation was formed, which built the structure now used by the Lutherans and located on the top of the hill (Upper Pikeland). In 1889, the original Lutheran congregation separated from the Reformed congregation to build a church across the road, between the two older edifices.
Therefore, at the turn of the 20th century, three church buildings stood on this hill. Because of their relative position, they are remembered, respectively, as: Upper Pikeland, built in 1843, the present Lutheran Church; Middle Pikeland, built in 1889 and destroyed by fire in 1918; and Lower Pikeland, built in 1836. As a result of the fire in 1918, the two Lutheran congregations merged, so that today there are two churches on Pikeland Hill. During these years, through the efforts of her pastors and the transfer of some of her members, St. Peter's became the mother of five other Lutheran congregations. These are shown as branches of the tree. To understand this story we must go back to the early eighteenth century when the first German settlers carved farms out of the forest which once covered these hills.
For an abbreviated version of our Church's history click here.
For a printable version of our Church's history click here.