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.
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.
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.