Cumberland Times-News

Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum

August 14, 2008

Happy 200th to St. Paul's Lutheran congregation


What was called "the old school'' on Eckhart Flat was used for a few years, and then, in 1835, the Lutherans built a log church, perhaps on the site that later became the German Lutheran Cemetery.

By that time the congregation in Frostburg had grown to the point of independence from Cumberland. They called a pastor of their own, and, when they outgrew the frame church, embarked upon the construction of a bigger, better building that still stands - now Zion United Church of Christ.

This, however, like the earlier houses of worship, stood outside the city limits of Frostburg. The congregation, which at first had been drawn from farm-families, was now almost entirely urban, and when the congregation was offered half of a building lot in the center of the town, they eagerly accepted it. The present church building, somewhat remodeled, dates from just after the Civil War.

The date on the church cornerstone, 1812, was probably put there in the 1880s, when the tower and spire were added to the structure. It reflects a certain city pride, but has nothing to do with the history of the congregation.

History - of a congregation, or a town, or a family - is important if we are to understand ourselves. But we must realize that historical events, like birthdays, must not be taken as the end of a chapter, but the beginning of a new one. We build on the past to create a better future.

And so: Happy 200th Birthday to S. Paul's Lutheran congregation!

Betty VanNewkirk is the historian for the Frostburg Museum.

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Betty Van NewKirk - From the Museum
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