Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Special: EA Brueggeman's First Church: Brandywine, WV

After graduating from Concordia Seminary, EA Brueggeman's first call was in Brandywine, West Virginia at  Propst Lutheran Church.  The building was constructed around 1887 and was in fairly regular use until its abandonment in 1920.  It was the first Lutheran Church in West Virginia and the oldest church  in Pendleton County, WV.  It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Here are details from the application:
The congregation that was t o be known as the Propst Lutheran Church was in
existence by 1760. Although this congregation held church services at this time,
it is not known if a church building actually existed or when the firs t one was
constructed. It i s known that the first building was located a bit to the southeast of

the present church on the perpetually deeded 34 acre lot . Constructed
of round logs with clay chinking, it had a wooden chimney with a clay lining to
prevent the logs from catching fire .

The second church building was of hewn-log construction . This church was
located in what is today a corner of the old cemetery. This building served
the community as a place of worship until about 1885, when it was dismantled,
transported and reassembled on a new site and used as a dwelling for many years
before being converted to a barn.

The third ( present) building was constructed around 1887 and was in fairly
regular use until its abandonment in 1920. The church stood vacant and deteriorated 

greatly until 1968 when restoration work was begun. By 1974 the church and
adjoining land (the 3% acres of the original grant)  had been improved, and the
site was once again of service t o the community as a park or community center .

As with the exterior, the interior of the church i s very pla i n and simple.
A raised , goblet-shaped pulpit is attached to the  front wall, access to which is
by way of five steps leading up it side. A small, plain  stands takes  the place
of an altar and is located in front of the pulpit . The pews are original and
were handmade. In one corner near the pulpit is located the first organ used in
the church.

EAB must have arrived as the new church building was completed.  My records show he was installed on September 4, 1887.  Notice the two doors in the picture, one for men and one for women, how times have changed.  We have letters from EAB to his bride-to-be while he was in West Virginia.  I'll be sharing these on the blog soon.

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