Apr 12



Originally named “Christ’s Church,” Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church was one of three Lutheran institutions founded in Gettysburg by Samuel Simon Schmucker and colleagues. It was preceded by the Lutheran Theological Seminary, founded in 1826, and Pennsylvania College (Gettysburg College), founded in 1832. It is located at 30 Chambersburg Street. This view was taken facing southwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church is the oldest structure in Gettysburg continuously used as a Church. It was founded in 1835 to be the English-speaking Lutheran Church in Gettysburg (St. James Lutheran Church, in existence since 1789, conducted its services in German), and to be the primary assembly hall for the Lutheran Theological Seminary and for Pennsylvania (Gettysburg) College. It was often referred to as “The College Church,” and hosted numerous graduation ceremonies and other meetings for the College and Seminary. The structure was one of the first hospitals established during the Battle of Gettysburg, and at its peak accommodated approximately 150 wounded soldiers. Today Pastor Stephen R. Herr and Dr. Conrad B. Richter will show us some parts of the structure.



This map shows the original dimensions of the church plus some later additions to the structure. The map also shows the locations of the videos in this series. Video #1 was shot on the sidewalk near Chambersburg Street, northwest of the church. Video #2 was shot along the west side of the church. Video #3 was filmed on the church front steps. Video #4 was filmed inside the narthex (an enclosed passage between the main entrance and the nave of a church). This map was created facing east at approximately 6:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



Paster Stephen R. Herr was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Gettysburg College, where he majored in history, and from Gettysburg’s Lutheran Theological Seminary. Upon graduation from the Seminary, he served as pastor of Hebron Evangelical Lutheran Church in Blairsville, Pennsylvania. In 1999 he became pastor at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gettysburg. He is married and has two sons. Paster Herr is standing near the marker for Chaplain Horatio Howell of the 90th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment, who was killed on the church steps on July 1, 1863. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

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In Video #1, Pastor Stephen Herr introduces us to the church, explains the reasons for which it was established, and shows us the cupola, two witness trees, and Chaplain Howell’s marker. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



The cupola on Christ Lutheran is a smaller version of the cupola on the Lutheran Theological Seminary building. Like the latter cupola, the Christ Lutheran Cupola has eight sides, but this cupola was here in 1863 as opposed to the cupola on the Seminary building which burned in 1913. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



Another difference between the two cupolas is that the Christ Lutheran Cupola houses this approximately 600 pound bronze bell. The bell was cast in 1788 for a Spanish or Portugese convent, and has been in the Christ Lutheran Cupola since 1836. We will feature the bell in some detail in a later post in this series. This view was taken facing northwest at approximately 5:00 PM on Friday, April 10, 2009.



Both of the trees in front of the Christ Lutheran Church are “witness trees” to the Battle of Gettysburg, and were probably planted in the mid 1830s or 1840s. They are Linden Trees or “Bee Trees.” Mature trees often reach 100 feet in height and three feet in diameter. Unfortunately these trees are coming to the end of their life. The trunk of at least one of the trees contains cement to help stabilize it. An arborist is recommending that they be taken down before they become a serious safety issue. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



The Chaplain Horatio Howell marker was placed here by veterans of the 90th Pennsylvania Infantry Regiment. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



The inscription of the top of the marker shows that approximately 30 years after the battle, when the marker was placed here, the veterans were still bitter about the way that Howell died. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



The inscription at the bottom of the Howell marker. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



There are different versions of Howell’s death. All versions agree that he was visiting the church which was then being used as a hospital on July 1, 1863. All versions agree that he was shot as the Confederates came into the town that afternoon. One version has Howell shot by a Confederate from “Boyer’s Corner.” That location would be near the Diamond/Lincoln Square at what was then Boyer’s Grocery Store, and is now T&S Menswear. That building is on the other (north) side of Chambersburg Street, and would be the last building on the right in this view. That would be quite a shot to hit Howell if he was at the bottom of the steps. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



A closeup of “Boyer’s Corner” shows two people in dark blue clothing rounding the corner. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



If Chaplain Howell was at the top of the steps it would be an impossible shot from “Boyer’s Corner.” The tree wasn’t as large as it is today, but the cream-colored Civil War era building on the right would have blocked the view of a shooter from “Boyer’s Corner.” This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



The most likely version of what happened has Howell emerging from hospital/church from the center door at the top of the steps. A Confederate at the bottom of the steps demanded that Howell surrender his sword. Howell, instead of unbuckling his weapon, tried to explain that he didn’t have to surrender it because he was a noncombatant. The Confederate, who had probably had an interesting time fighting other United States’ soldiers throughout the day was in no mood now to begin negotiating. He shot and killed Howell while standing at the spot now designated by Howell’s marker. Howell’s body fell at the landing/portico on the top of the steps. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



Dr. Conrad B. Richter is a native of Millersburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. He did undergraduate work at Shippensburg State Teachers College (Shippensburg University), and Penn State University, and holds a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a veteran of the United States Army, and pursued his professional career in Pathology and Laboratory Animal Medicine at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the National Institutes of Health, Duke University, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is the author and co-author of seventy-six scientific articles, book chapters, and abstracts. Dr. Richter has served as consultant and adviser to numerous public and private institutions and industry. He resides in Cumberland Township, outside of Gettysburg. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



In a moment we will show you Video #2. In video #2, we began filming Dr. Richter underneath the overhang which connects the church on the right to what used to what used to be Gettysburg Dentist Dr. Lawrence Hill’s House on the left. The Hill House now belongs to the Christ Lutheran Church. Dr. Richter will walk towards our camera position pointing out how one can tell where the 1875 and 1930 additions to the church structure can be distingued on the church’s west wall. This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.

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In Video #2, Dr. Conrad Richter walks us along the outside of the west wall of the Christ Lutheran Church. He shows us the original foundation, how the 1836 bricks were placed in the wall, and where one can find the 1875 and 1930 additions to the church. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



Our dark blue Licensed Battlefield Guide hat helps show the dividing line between the 1836 bricks on the left and the 1875 bricks on the right. In 1875 the church received a 25 foot addition and the roof was raised four feet. This view was taken facing east at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



The 18 foot addition in 1930 is easily distinguished by its newer, brighter colored bricks at the rear (south) of the structure. This view was taken facing northeast at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



In Video #3, which will be coming up shortly, Paster Herr will be at the top of the steps and the camera will be pointed this way. He will discuss some incidents on the steps and mention the columns. They are original to the building and are brick covered with plaster. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



The architectural style of the columns is Ionic. The wire mesh around the top of the columns help keep birds from nesting. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.

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In Video #3, Pastor Stephen Herr is at the top of the steps in the landing/portico area, and the camera is pointed towards Chambersburg Street. He discusses some incidents on the steps, including the fact that these are not the original steps to the church, and mention the materials used to construct the columns. This view was taken facing north at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



This main entrance to the church is the original door with the original framework and hardware. Imagine how many people since 1836 have touched the same doorknobs that you can touch today. This view was taken facing south at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



Dr. Conrad Richter will take us through the main entrance of the church. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



He will use the same key and hardware that has been here since 1836. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.



Yes the key still works in the lock. Chaplain Horatio Howell was inside the church the afternoon of July 1, 1863, and heard firing outside. Howell said to a surgeon, “I will step outside for a moment and see what the trouble is.” He then put his hand on the same doorknob here today, came out this door and soon fell dead in front (north) of it. This view was taken facing southeast at approximately 2:00 PM on Saturday, April 11, 2009.

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In Video #4, Dr. Conrad Richter is at the top of the steps in the landing/portico area, He points out the entrance, and the doors on either end of the portico that previously lead to stairways inside the church. He then takes us into the church into what was then the narthex and shows us some stained glass windows. The narthex did not exist at the time of the battle. At that time when one entered the front door they were standing near the pews at the rear of the church. This view was taken facing south to east to north at approximately 5:00 PM on Tuesday, March 31, 2009.



On our next visit to Christ Church we’ll enter the sanctuary. This view was taken facing south at approximately 5:00 PM on Thursday, March 26, 2009.


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