Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

April 17, 2008

History of town can be read in its architecture


For 50 years or so there was a large veranda, added for the convenience of the parsonage families, but that has now been replaced by an entrance porch in the style of the original one. Windows are still the same size and shape as in 1872, and the original tin roof is intact. The house is a historical gem!

The church building has seen more alteration than the parsonage, and is actually older. It is not the original Lutheran house of worship; the congregation had its first communion service of record (obviously not the first time they had met together) on Aug. 14, 1808, in the Neff Meeting House, and later used a schoolhouse before outgrowing two churches of their own on other sites. When townspeople outnumbered farm families on the rolls, they were happy to accept Jacob Steyer's offer of "the most valuable lot in town'' in 1857.

At first glance, one gets the impression that the building completed in 1863 was different from the one we see today. It had a recessed entrance, a square wooden cupola as a bell tower, and small-paned, clear-glass windows.

There are confusing newspaper accounts that say the building was a total loss in the fire of 1874. Those reports were corrected, later, to say that "only the walls'' were left standing - and those are the walls of the present church.

By the time all the fire damage had been repaired, tastes had changed. Stained glass memorial windows were installed, an entrance vestibule was built, and the congregation tried to keep up with the denominational Joneses by adding a tower and spire, pointing the way to heaven.

More recently, St. Paul's has joined other congregations in the fads for red-painted doors and free-standing bulletin boards. There was serious discussion of tearing down the parsonage to make way for a parking lot. Fortunately, methods of correcting the layout of rooms and assorted plumbing problems were worked out, and an important landmark was saved.

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Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
  • Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation Today is the 200th birthday of the Lutheran congregation in Frostburg!

    On Aug. 14, 1808, 24 people joined in a communion service in the New Church, a log structure on the edge of what is now called the Prichard Farm.

    August 14, 2008

  • Quality, attitude of people make 'Burg special A note in the newspaper a week or so ago mentioned that Oprah Winfrey was looking for "the best small towns in America.'' Frostburg is the best one I know of - but unfortunately Oprah asked for photos or videos supporting the nomination.

    August 7, 2008

  • There's always something new under the sun! The popular press has been devoting a good bit of space in recent weeks to the new swimsuit, introduced by Speedo, which supposedly has contributed to the record-breaking times posted in the Olympic tryouts.

    July 24, 2008

  • Ward and his mansion stand proud in 'Burg I've had questions recently - not for the first time! - about William Ward and the house he built at 73 W. Main St. here in Frostburg.

    July 17, 2008

  • July 4th: Finding our beliefs Independence Day, like Christmas, is one of the few national holidays that has not been moved to Monday, to provide a four-day break for working people. It holds its own as the Fourth of July.

    July 3, 2008

  • Berry-picking brings back many memories Last week I went to Wiley Ford to pick strawberries. I came home with enough for several packets of frozen berries, for three jars of strawberry jam, generous spoonfuls of fruit on my breakfast cereal and shortcake with real whipped cream.

    June 26, 2008

  • Ambulance service has key community role The Frostburg Area Ambulance Service is currently asking for our help in raising money for the protective clothing that new government regulations require.

    June 19, 2008

  • Planet continues to change; Big One on horizon? In a year that is not yet half over, 2008 has already written itself into the record books for extremes of hot and cold, rain and drought, tornadoes and floods and earthquakes. Our planet Earth has been in a constant state of change.

    June 12, 2008

  • In tennis, individuals face each other as equals I'm not a sports person, but I like to watch tennis. During the three big summer tournaments - Paris, London and New York, played on three different surfaces - my TV is on, and I check the newspaper for details that I have missed.

    June 5, 2008

  • Arts are obviously alive in Allegany County Last week I had the pleasure of attending the spring concert of the Allegany Community Symphony Orchestra. The program was free, and nicely varied, and the instrumentalists were competent.

    May 29, 2008

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