Model of historic log church.
In 1787, when the population of Harrisburg was 600, there was a need for a house of worship. Accordingly, John Harris granted Lot No. 187 at the corner of Third and Chestnut Streets, for that purpose.
The first house of worship was a building of logs erected at the corner of Third Street and Cherry Alley on Lot No. 187. This building was owned and occupied by the German Reformed and the German Lutheran congregations later known as Salem Reformed and Zion Lutheran.
These congregations worshiped as one for two years under a Lutheran pastor and for six years under a Reformed pastor yet they preserved their respective organizations.
In 1795 the two congregations were separated but continued to occupy the same building together.
In 1812 the Reformed congregation purchased Lot No. 186, which together with the grant from John Harris, provides our present front on Chestnut Street.
In 1814 the Lutheran congregation erected a brick church on Fourth Street, which was destroyed by fire in 1838. In April 1836, they sold their interest in the old joint church to the Reformed congregation.
In 1822 the present building was completed and dedicated. The cost was $8,537.54. By that time the population of Harrisburg was 2,985. James Monroe was President of the United States and Joseph Heister Governor of Pennsylvania.
The bell, which has strong beautiful tones that resound over the community at noon and at six p.m. every day, has an interesting record. In December 1821, the building committee ordered a suitable bell to be secured through Charles Bird and Company of Philadelphia, from Thomas Mears, bell-founder of London. It so happened that Mr. Charles Bird was in London at the time and gave the matter his personal attention. On May 31, 1822 the bell arrived in Philadelphia on the ship “Tuscarora” and George Kunkel, merchant, who was in Philadelphia purchasing goods, had the bell placed on the wagon with his merchandise and brought to Harrisburg. The amount paid for the bell, porterage, etc, was $346.56. The following inscription is cast on the bell:
T. MEARS OF LONDON FECIT 1822
May all whom I may summon to the grave
The blessing of a well-spent life receive.