Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The Gloria Dei (Old Swedes’) Episcopal Church—at Columbus Boulevard and Christian Street—is the oldest church in Pennsylvania and one of the oldest in America. Gloria Dei was originally built in 1700 as the Swedish Lutheran Church for Swedish settlers, and in 1845 it joined the Episcopal Church.
As we walked around the beautiful grounds and inside the small church, there were many preserved items throughout. Marble slabs with engravings, ornate carvings in the woodwork and a Hook and Hastings Organ that was built in Boston and dedicated in 1903 were all characteristics of this historic church. Gloria Dei became a National Historic Site in 1942.
As time goes on, the church does show some wear. Currently, the church is hoping to paint the steeple. It has been 10 years since the last restoration. Gloria Dei has decided to use funds from its annual Lucia Fest to support the project. Held in December, Lucia Fest is a pageant where children dress up and sing songs during the time of Advent. They hope with the help of the community to raise $18,000.
We cannot say this is our first meeting with South of South Street. We both have made a few trips to the area for various reasons before. However, on this particular trip we began seeing things we never paid attention to before. As we began our adventure through the neighborhood, we tried to steer clear of South Street itself because it seems boring and obvious.
As we continued through the streets South of South Street, we began to see a variety of corner shops that have been around for some time as well as new housing still being built. The area has seen a pretty steady incline in economic growth and healthy life since the 1970s, and has long since been gentrified and beautified.
By Emily Heinz and Rebecca Howe-South of South, group 6
Posted by becca at 10:37 PM