The Towamencin Meetinghouse

Our intern Rick Kriebel recently visited the Schwenkfelder Towamencin cemetery. Here he reflects on the history of the Towamencin meetinghouse. Visit the SLHC to see the pulpit now on view in our gallery from the Schwenkfelder meetinghouse once at this location and access resources for your genealogical research.

Towamencin Schwenkfelder Cemetery

The memorial listing the original 18th century Schwenkfelder immigrants interred at Towamencin. Additional markers can be found at the other Schwenkfelder meetinghouse/cemetery locations.

As a distinct religious group, the Schwenkfelders maintained their own cemeteries ever since they immigrated to America. These cemeteries are still privately owned by the various Schwenkfelder churches, even after the church buildings moved on to different locations. One of these is located in Towamencin, near the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Some of the original Schwenkfelder immigrants are interred there, and subsequent generations of Schwenkfelders and Schwenkfelder relatives have used it up to this present time.

View of cemetery stones at Towamencin

View of cemetery gravemarkers at Towamencin

George Drescher Gravemarker Towamencin Cemetery

George Drescher was one of the original Schwenkfelders that came to America between 1731-1737. His name is on the memorial stone. All Schwenkfelder immigrants were assigned numbers. The number E-64 coincides with the Schwenkfelder Genealogical Records kept in the SLHC's library and archives.

Towamencin Meetinghouse

Another marker shows the change in Meetinghouse architecture over time.

The cemetery land was originally used for a school house that was built in the 1760s, about 30 years after the Schwenkfelders first arrived in Pennsylvania. In 1793, the schoolhouse was replaced by a meeting house (a building used for worship services). There would be two more meeting houses there until 1966, at which point the Schwenkfelders had a new church in the area. In 1948, construction began on Central Schwenkfelder Church located on Valley Forge Road. This new building replaced the one at Towamencin, which held its last service on May 27, 1951. Ever mindful of their heritage, the Schwenkfelders not only have gravestones for their departed, but memorials to both the original immigrants who settled in the area, and to the meeting houses that once stood at this location.

The Towamencin Cemetery is located near Valley Forge Road and the PA Turnpike in Towamencin Township in Montgomery County and is property of the Central Schwenkfelder Church.

-Rick Kriebel

About schwenkfelder

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the Schwenkfelders and the history of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Perkiomen Region. The Heritage Center offers educational programming and tours, exhibits, workshops, and events throughout the year. Our blog is maintained by museum educator, Rebecca Lawrence, SLHC staff and guest bloggers.
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