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Chronological Timeline

1816 - St. Peter Temple is constructed.  The original building was a log cabin.  John Nyce was credited as the founder and the structure was originally called Nyce’s Church.  Rev. Friederick Herman presided.  The four main walls as far as we know are of the original construction but the wall in the front was solid, the current choir and pulpit area didn’t come until much later.  There were three doors, one to the road in the north wall, one to the cemetery in the south wall and one centered in the east wall.  The walls were much higher then (or the floor was lower) and there was a gallery around three sides. There were eight windows on the lower level and twelve in the upper level. The ceiling was a high arch, and the pulpit was nearly as high as the gallery.

 

1853 - The Temple is rebuilt which gave the building a Gothic appearance, with a lower pitch roof, a lower ceiling and a block cornice on the outside. The upper windows were eliminated, leaving the eight there are plus two more in the west wall, the choir loft had not been built. The ceiling was made flat but with three recesses, one large and 2 small, all with plaster of paris moldings. The gallery was reduced from three sides to a balcony across the east end and the north and south doors were eliminated leaving only one entrance centered in the east wall. The Temple was lit by a large chandelier in the center and lamps on the pulpit.  The pulpit was also reconstructed, made of walnut with Gothic style panels (Gothic refers to the style using multiple arches like the current windows).  There was also a chancel.  On the chancel was a new altar with a finely polished Italian marble top.

1873 - The first organ was donated to the Church by Henry Swinehart.  Reverend William Sorber’s daughter Annie becomes the first Church organist at the young age of 12 years. 

 

1876 - Essie McFarland is born at a farm two miles west of Knauertown.  She would later move to Knauertown and would become a major pillar in the Church.  She was also known for her shoofly pies and raised an incredible amount of money for the Church through her baking.  That same year, a nine stall shed was built to shelter parishioner’s horses and carriages on a small tract of land on the opposite side of Ridge Rd. (Rt. 23).

 

1891 - The Church’s second organ is purchased at a cost of $100.00.  George Guldin becomes the new organist.

 

1912 - Mabel Knauer Krusen became the first music director and formed a men’s quartet that performed every Sunday.  That same year, the Dorcas class was established. 

 

1921 - Bill McElroy formed the cemetery committee.  As a result of the horrors he experienced while fighting in World War I, he became very instrumental in maintaining the grounds and acquiring additional acreage to expand the cemetery in order to assure everyone receives a proper burial.

 

1926 - The choir loft was added.  The balcony was removed, a large opening was cut through the west wall and the windows that were there are the same ones used in the new choir area.  This was the first and only expansion of the worship area of St. Peter Temple.

 

1938 - Electricity was added.  Two congregants opposed the move.

 

1940 - The first central heating system was added. 

 

1943 - Morris Knauer estate granted another parcel of land that roughly doubled the size of the cemetery. 

 

1948 - Running water was added to the Church and at the same time the Church made settlement on the old schoolhouse property across the street with the intent of converting it to use for social activities. That purchase was made through Mr. & Mrs. Albert Lehman who were reportedly using it as a summer residence.  The final cost of purchase appears to have been $720 down and an $1800 mortgage.

 

1958 - A new Allen organ is purchased and named in honor of Rev. Yost who worked tirelessly to purchase a new organ.  Sadly, Reverend Yost passed away a year prior to the purchase.  That same year, Catherine Lynn becomes the first regular organist, serving with her husband Clarence and with Sally Houck as her assistant.  Mrs. Houck would soon take over as the regular organist and would serve until 1968. 

 

1960 - The narthex was added to the Church.  This provided a second entrance to the Church as well as easier access to the undercroft and included storage, two restrooms and a water fountain.  That same year, Laverne Boens became the first Sunday School Teacher.

 

1961 - Ridge Rd. (Rt. 23) was rerouted slightly through the area.  This reconstruction consumed most of the parking lot on the north side of the road (formerly where the horse sheds were built). However, the portion of old Rt. 23 that would no longer be used for traffic provided a new parking area on the same side of the road as the Church, making access to the Church much simpler and safer.   

 

1966 - The year of our 150th anniversary, St Peter UCC made settlement on the seven-acre field to the east of the original property adding the largest single purchase of acreage in the Church’s history.  This is the land that now holds the additional parking lot, Detterline Hall and pavilion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Approximately 1966

 

1968 - Miss Judy Murray, who would soon become Mrs. Judy Hahn becomes the full-time organist and choir director.  Mrs. Hahn is still in service today, having held the position for 56 years as of 2024.

 

1978 - Mike Seiverling becomes the part-time piano player and choir accompanist.  Within a short-time Mike became the full-time accompanier for the choir, serving for 39 years. 

 

1989 - Central air conditioning was added. 

 

1997 - Groundbreaking occurs for the new Recreation Hall.


1999 - Schoolhouse was sold. 

 

2001 - The Recreation Hall is proudly dedicated as the “Milton E. Detterline Hall”.

The Church history has been extensively researched by the Rev. Ronald Hughes, former member

and current Pastor at St. Matthews UCC Church, Chester Springs, PA.

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