St. Peter's Kierch

St. Peter's Kierch, also called the Old Kierch or St. Peter's Church, is a historic Lutheran church in Middletown, Dauphin County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Construction began in 1767 and it was dedicated by Henry Muhlenberg in 1769. St. Peter's Kierch was used regularly until 1879 when a large church was completed. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

St. Peter's Kierch
St. Peter's Kierch.jpg
AffiliationEvangelical Lutheran Church in America
RegionLower Susquehanna Synod
Location31 West High Street
Middletown, Pennsylvania
United States
St. Peter's Kierch is located in Pennsylvania
St. Peter's Kierch
Shown within Pennsylvania
Geographic coordinates40°12′04″N 76°43′56″W / 40.201083°N 76.732278°W / 40.201083; -76.732278Coordinates: 40°12′04″N 76°43′56″W / 40.201083°N 76.732278°W / 40.201083; -76.732278
GroundbreakingJuly 13, 1767
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Added to NRHPJune 17, 1983
NRHP Reference no.7301621[1]
DesignatedFebruary 28, 1969[2]


St. Peter's Kierch is a 2½-story, Georgian-style church at the intersection of Union and High Streets in Middletown.[3] The church was constructed from red sandstone. Originally, galleries were located on the east, west and south sides with the wineglass pulpit on the north side. The bell tower was constructed 46 years after the rest of the church, on the west side, as it was not intended to be used an entrance.[4] The sides of the church have three windows reaching to the upper story. Each window has forty-four 9-by-12-inch (23 cm × 30 cm) panes of glass—eleven panes high, four across.[3]


On September 18, 1764, with the intent of constructing a Lutheran church, a plot of land was purchased by some local residents from George Fisher, founder of Middletown, for 7 shillings and 6 pence, along with an annual rent of one grain of wheat.[4][5][6]

The cornerstone of the church was laid on July 13, 1767 by James Burd. The church was dedicated by Henry Muhlenberg on September 12, 1769. The bell tower was constructed in 1813; the bell was cast in Philadelphia by Hedderly and Leverin and hung in 1815.[4][7]

In 1876, the growth on the congregation led to the decision to build a new church several blocks south of the old one, at Spring and Union Streets. The last regular service was held at the Kierch on January 26, 1879.[4] It is still used, however, for "occasional services and funerals" as well as other special events.[4][6] St. Peter's Kierch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 17, 1973.[1]

The church has an adjacent cemetery, locally called "God's Acre", that has about 210 people buried who fought in the American Revolution, including Barack Obama's 6th great-grandfather George Frederick Toot.[8]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "NPS Focus". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  2. ^ "PHMC Historical Markers Search" (Searchable database). Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2014-01-25.
  3. ^ a b Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks, § 7.
  4. ^ a b c d e Middletown, 1755–2005: celebrating 250 years. Borough of Middletown. 2005. p. 29.
  5. ^ Pennsylvania Register of Historic Sites and Landmarks, § 8, p. 1.
  6. ^ a b Marchetti, Amanda (October 17, 2007). "Celebrating 240 years". Press and Journal. Middletown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved September 4, 2011.
  7. ^ "Sant Peter's Kierch". St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  8. ^ "George Frederick Toot". Find a Grave.